Flexible solar gets new test

Flexible solar cells have possibilities that defy your imagination. Yet researchers from Solliance Solar Research are running into the limitations of new applications. Often regulations and certification are not yet fitted for the technical possibilities of thin-film solar cells. Sometimes it lacks a suitable test method that assesses the (new) properties of thin-film solar cells on, for example, lifetime or safety.

The Solar @ Sea project was investigating what the influence of dynamic repetitive load is on the lifetime and the reliability of the system. What are the failure mechanisms? What happens to the ultra-thin and vulnerable layers? This is still unknown territory, usually solar cells are firmly packed under glass and it is not suppose to move a lot.

In close corporation with students Mechanical Engineering of Avans University, a new mechanical load tester was developed. This testing apparatus is capable of enforcing a reliable and repeatable movement to the sample. By programming the testing machine, different movements and speeds are possible to use.

The next step is to relate the failure behaviour we will observe in the testing apparatus to the actual behaviour. This will take time and it will enable to calculate the life time under certain conditions.

The machine doesn’t have a name yet, but we are open for suggestions.

For more information on  collaboration opportunities with Solliance Solar Research.

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