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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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The focus of Photovoltaic (PV) Reliability Research and Development (R&D) at NREL is to improve PV technologies. Modules and systems are tested for long-term performance and stressed in the field and with accelerated testing equipment, all to find R&D solutions to improve PV reliability. Learn about working with us.

Help us improve PV systems by providing data in our PV Module Field Failure Database.

PV Reliability R&D focuses on three primary areas:

  • Real-time reliability R&D Long-term performance, reliability, and failures of PV components and systems are studied at NREL and through collaborations elsewhere. Analysis is performed to quantify long-term degradation, and results are shared with the community.

  • Accelerated Testing PV components and materials are subjected to stressors such as thermal cycling, heat, moisture, and ultraviolet light to provide early indication of potential failure modes. New accelerated test and diagnostic techniques are developed to meet specific needs, especially those associated with understanding new devices and materials.

  • Industry workshop and standards support. Each year, an industry workshop is conducted to encourage the exchange of information about PV Reliability. Proceedings of past workshops are available. Laboratory personnel actively participate in writing and discussion of reliability, safety, and test and evaluation (T&E) standards.

PV Reliability R&D helps to reduce cost by providing companies with the information they need to improve PV product lifetime, availability, and performance and decrease operation and maintenance costs of PV systems. Publications are available, which summarize these efforts.

These projects, a joint effort between NREL and Sandia National Laboratories, are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Program.

Independent efficiency measurement and certified testing of the performance of modules can be obtained through NREL's Measurements and Characterization group.

NREL's PV Reliability R&D group is a research component of the National Center for Photovoltaics.

Working with Us

The PV Engineering and Reliability group at NREL sets priorities according to which efforts best help the PV industry grow. We welcome partnerships with industry toward achieving that goal.

To have the highest impact, it is our intention to publish in the open literature. Companies wishing to keep all results confidential will be asked to pay for the work. We generally find that it is in everyone's best interests to publish reliability studies (with proprietary details omitted) so that the wider PV community may learn from them.

We offer companies opportunities to leverage NREL's research expertise. Working with outside organizations is the key to moving solar technologies into the market. Explore NREL's PV Engineering and PV Reliability projects for examples of stakeholder partnerships.

We encourage interested parties to learn about working with NREL's PV Engineering and Reliability group and the National Center for Photovoltaics.

NREL's Solar Energy research supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Program.

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NCPV - National Center for Photovoltaics