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IQE

14 February 2014

Dutch consortium develops solar testing system, for commercial availability in first-half 2015

A Dutch consortium, consisting of Delft University of Technology spin-off Eternal Sun B.V. (which specializes in solar simulation technology for product and material testing), environmental simulation system maker Hielkema Testequipment B.V., Radboud University Nijmegen spin-off and PV measurement system maker ReRa Solutions B.V., and ECN (the energy research institute of The Netherlands) and TNO (the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research in Delft) – partners in Solliance (the European R&D consortium that focuses on thin-film photovoltaic solar energy) – is to develop a climate chamber with AAA-class-accuracy simulated sunlight to simultaneously test the performance and degradation of all types of solar cells and mini-modules.

The new hybrid test setup will be based on an existing model that has already been used by TNO for 3 years. The combination of a climate chamber and solar simulator is used for research on the performance and degradation of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) cells at the new Solliance facility at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The new setup is a combination of a modified climate chamber, a multi cell IV-measurement system and a large-area solar simulator. This simulator uses an array of lamps to produce AAA-class (<2% accurate) sunlight, which is used to provide nearly flawless performance and degradation measurements of all types of solar cells and mini-modules.

The ultimate objective of the joint project is to gain insight into the behaviour of all types of solar cells and mini-modules. Because the new hybrid test setup can simultaneously measure performance and degradation, the unique combination is able to gather data that was previously unattainable, it is reckoned. It is expected that this data will enable new research, focused on the performance of cells and mini-modules during the degradation process. The setup enables Solliance to perform most existing IEC tests as well as newly developed test procedures, with the use of a single test setup, and enables them to gain new insight into the behaviour of all types of PV cells and mini-modules.

“This new test system will be interesting for all solar research facilities around the globe,” reckons Stefan Roest, chief technology officer & co-founder of Eternal Sun, which specializes in solar simulation technology for product and material testing.

“The existing test setup has been very successfully used to learn more about the degradation behavior of new types of solar cells,” comments Solliance researcher Mirjam Theelen. “There was a lot of interest from other research institutes for this setup, and we are very content with the fact that Dutch companies will bring it to the market in cooperation with us.”

The equipment is expected to become commercially available in first-half 2015.

Tags: Solliance CIGS Thin-film PV

Visit: www.solliance.eu

Visit: www.eternalsun.com

Visit: www.hielkematest.nl

Visit: www.rera.nl

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