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/Job opportunities/Coated PV module glass: cross-disciplinary review of the ageing modelling and field experimental design

Coated PV module glass: cross-disciplinary review of the ageing modelling and field experimental design

Research & development - Genk | More than two weeks ago

Design an “ideal” experiment to empirically evaluate different approaches to predict the ageing of the glass superstrates of solar modules

General context

Solar modules are operated in a wide variety of applications ranging from the gigawatt-scale photovoltaic (PV) power plants under hot desert climates to offshore systems floating at the sea. Operational solar modules can, therefore, be exposed to various environmental stress factors. At the interface between the modules and their environment, the protective glass superstrates of the modules absorb most of the impact of these factors. As a result, the factors inevitably change the physical properties of the glass layers. Changes especially in the optical properties are relevant for the electrical performance of the modules. The optics of solar glass are commonly engineered to maximise light transmission by means of anti-reflective coatings. Module performance is, hence, likely to degrade with time as the optical properties of the coated glass layers deviate from the optimum due to the environmental stress.

 

Research motivation

Due to the rich variety of PV operating conditions, the possible ageing mechanisms in the glass superstrates of solar modules can be diverse. Furthermore, there is currently no dominant design for the coating material. The understanding of the various ageing mechanisms at different ambient conditions and with different coating types is important for 1) the feasibility assessment of PV projects and 2) coating design. The literature on the topic is abundant. However, no extensive, interdisciplinary review and synthesis exist. The comprehensive knowledge of the empirical and analytical work done to date would enable the design of an “ideal” experiment to empirically evaluate proposed models and to identify gaps in the state of the art.

 

Research questions

The main objective of the project is to design a field experiment to evaluate the models proposed for predicting the ageing of the glass superstrates of solar modules. The design should be based on a comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of the state of the art in the empirical and analytical prior work done on the topic. The following specific research questions are proposed:

  1. How do the optics of uncoated and coated glass superstrates vary with time under different ambient conditions?
  2. How does the above ageing of the optics of uncoated and coated glass superstrates vary with the coating type?
  3. What are the environmental stress factors affecting the optics of coated glass superstrates?
  4. How do the optics of coated glass superstrates change as a function of the exposure to the above factors?
  5. What is the optimal design of a field experiment for the validation of the above functions under temperate oceanic and hot desert climates?

 

Preliminary project plan

  1. Study the state of the art in the empirical and analytical prior work done on the ageing of the glass superstrates of solar modules.
  2. Design a field experiment to evaluate the different approaches to predict the ageing of the glass superstrates of solar modules, for example, using the design-of-experiments methodology.


Type of project: Thesis

Duration: 9 months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Science, Master of Engineering Technology

Required background: Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering, Energy

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Arttu Tuomiranta (Arttu.Tuomiranta@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.