Journal article Open Access

Outdoor detection and visualization of hailstorm damages of photovoltaic plants

Muehleisen, Wolfgang; Eder, Gabriele C.; Voronko, Yuliya; Spielberger, Markus; Sonnleitner, Horst; Knöbl, Karl; Ebner, Rita; Ujvari, Gusztav; Hirschl, Christina


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    <subfield code="a">Crystalline Silicon</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;Photovoltaic modules can experience damages of varying severity in the case of heavy hail storms. In the&amp;nbsp;worst case, complete&amp;nbsp; glass and solar cell breakage results in efficiency and security losses of the affected&amp;nbsp;modules which therefore have to be replaced. However, there is a strong need to inspect the remaining&amp;nbsp;modules directly in the field in order to assure no hidden damage. Three&amp;nbsp; hail-affected photovoltaic plants&amp;nbsp;in the south of Austria were investigated first with common standard methods like analysis of the&amp;nbsp; plant&amp;nbsp;monitoring data and thermography. Then, these plants were additionally investigated by novel nondestructive&amp;nbsp;methods. With&amp;nbsp; the aid of two innovative characterisation tools, outdoor electroluminescence&amp;nbsp;and UV-fluorescence imaging, hail-induced damaging&amp;nbsp; of solar cells can be detected even when the&amp;nbsp;solar glass of the modules withstood the mechanical impact of the hailstorm and no&amp;nbsp; damages are visible&amp;nbsp;to the naked eye or well recognizable by thermography. The non-destructive, easy to handle and fast&amp;nbsp;characterization technique UV-fluorescence imaging allows the detection and visualisation of hail&amp;nbsp;induced cell damage.&amp;nbsp; Modules&amp;nbsp;showing partial cell breakage and/or micro cracks e as proven by outdoor&amp;nbsp;electroluminescence measurements e and lead&amp;nbsp; to a reduced electrical performance can be unequivocally&amp;nbsp;identified.&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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