The NREL Outdoor Accelerated-weathering Tracking System and Photovoltaic Module Exposure Results

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This paper describes the Outdoor Accelerated-weathering Tracking System (OATS) and interim results for the first OATS study on photovoltaic (PV) modules. With two test planes measuring 1.52 x 1.83 m, OATS provides a unique solar-concentrating exposure capability. Test sample temperatures are moderated by air blowers. Water spray capability exists for wetting samples. The OATS two-axis tracker points to the sun using software calculations. Non-imaging aluminum reflectors give a nominal clear-sky optical concentration ratio of three. Field-qualification measurements in the test plane under reflector conditions showed its relative irradiance non-uniformity was '' 15% for a clear-sky summer day with '' 75 ... continued below

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Basso, T. S. October 31, 1998.

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This paper describes the Outdoor Accelerated-weathering Tracking System (OATS) and interim results for the first OATS study on photovoltaic (PV) modules. With two test planes measuring 1.52 x 1.83 m, OATS provides a unique solar-concentrating exposure capability. Test sample temperatures are moderated by air blowers. Water spray capability exists for wetting samples. The OATS two-axis tracker points to the sun using software calculations. Non-imaging aluminum reflectors give a nominal clear-sky optical concentration ratio of three. Field-qualification measurements in the test plane under reflector conditions showed its relative irradiance non-uniformity was '' 15% for a clear-sky summer day with '' 75 mm as the smallest distance for that non-uniformity. Exposure studies began in November 1997 on seven pairs of commercially available ribbon silicon, crystalline silicon and amorphous silicon PV modules kept at constant resistive load. The modules were periodically removed from OATS for visual inspection and solar simulator performance measurements. There were no module failures. This PV module study is ongoing and later results will be compared to other testing techniques. Through July 1998, the modules under reflector conditions received 392 MJ/m2 of total ultraviolet (TUV) exposure. That was 2.07 times the TUV exposure compared to a south-facing fixed array tilted 40{sup o} up from horizontal at NREL. Similarly, the modules in the test plane under the covered reflectors received 1.04 times the fixed array TUV exposure. For the test plane under the covered reflectors there was a loss of 13% TUV exposure attributed to the reflectors blocking some of the diffuse-sky UV light. Also through July 1998, the OATS sunlight availability measured 95% compared to the cumulative global normal exposure at the NREL Solar Radiation Research Laboratory (SRRL). The OATS sunlight availability losses included downtime when the PV modules were removed, and when there were OAT S tracking problems, maintenance, and repair. For December 1997 through July 1998, the SRRL cumulative exposure was 99% compared to the respective monthly averages from years 1961 through 1990 at Boulder, Colorado.

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  • Presented at the National Center for Photovoltaics Program Review Meeting, Denver, CO (US), 09/08/1998--09/11/1998

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  • Other: DE00005045
  • Report No.: NREL/CP-520-25351
  • Grant Number: AC36-99GO10337
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5045
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc694327

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  • October 31, 1998

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • March 28, 2016, 8:31 p.m.

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Basso, T. S. The NREL Outdoor Accelerated-weathering Tracking System and Photovoltaic Module Exposure Results, article, October 31, 1998; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc694327/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.