Performance analysis with better simulation of sunlight

Press release /

Performance determines price – even for solar modules. Until now, module flashers were used in the photovoltaics sector to measure the performance of photovoltaic modules under fixed lighting conditions. At the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics CSP, an LED-based device is now available that can take adjusted measurements for solar modules with various color spectrums, intensities and measurement times. Among other things, that means services can be offered for special requirements.

PV Sonnenlicht LED Simulation
© Fraunhofer CSP
The module flasher can be used to represent up to 18 different colors at the same time from various LED light sources, in order to simulate sunlight for measuring the performance of solar modules.

The previous standard measuring devices for solar modules – known as flashers, which create a flash and expose the modules to white light for a period of milliseconds – only allow data to be collected for a brief moment and do not accurately represent the sun’s light spectrum. That makes it impossible to create testing conditions for situations outside the norm, for instance the light at different times of day. With the module flasher from WAVELABS Metrology Systems GmbH, the Fraunhofer CSP now has a device that uses many different-colored LED light sources to represent 18 colors, which simulates sunlight much more accurately. That is a great advantage for more precise performance analysis. The length of illumination can also be regulated electronically for future measurements, from a millisecond to several hours. In addition to the variable measurement speed, the lighting intensity can be set anywhere between 0.1 and 1.2 times the sun’s radiation in order to determine precise parameters for the expected energy yield from complete PV modules in the open air.

“During long-term operations, module performance can vary depending on the incidence of light. This device lets us measure these light-soaking and light degradation effects in a realistic way,” says Dr. Marko Turek, a scientist at the Fraunhofer CSP.

The LED module flasher makes it possible to carry out precise performance tests that can represent the solar modules’ aging processes and yield scenarios with special measurements. “With the new device, we can now conduct our module performance analyses at the Fraunhofer CSP with various light spectrums, and we can even use them to create innovative, large-scale quantum efficiency measurements. That gives us even better options when it comes to analyzing materials for our customers and project partners,” concludes Dr. Marko Turek.