CHICAGO - Atlas Material Testing Technology has taken a broad leap forward in the solar energy industry, introducing the Atlas 25Plus™ test program for determining the durability of photovoltaic modules, combining instrumental and outdoor exposure testing.
Existing test standards, such as the IEC module design qualification tests, do not address long-term durability issues. These tests are designed to reveal potential design or manufacturing defects resulting in early “infant mortality” failures. They are not intended or able to predict the longer-term degradation or failure modes resulting from the accumulated damaging effects of climate-related stresses.
In response, Atlas has developed the Atlas 25Plus PV module durability testing program. This program consists of a comprehensive battery of accelerated tests that integrate both laboratory and outdoor environmental exposures and target the long-term product wear-out period that can result in declining module performance or outright failure.
A compliment to the IEC test protocol, Atlas 25Plus involves a very different test methodology. Test parameters are realistically climate based. The key environmental stresses of temperature, moisture and solar radiation are delivered simultaneously, as they are in the real world. Targeted accelerated environmental tests, including UV exposure, salt corrosion and condensing humidity, are included within the testing regimen. Modules are light exposed and forward biased under resistive load at the maximum power point. Module performance characteristics are measured at intervals with I-V curves, visual inspections, digital photography and infrared thermography.