Quantitative mapping of deflection and stress on encapsulated silicon solar cells

Xiaodong Meng, Michael Stuckelberger, Laura Ding, Bradley West, April Jeffries, Mariana Bertoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The lamination process of photovoltaic modules relies on the application of high temperatures and pressures, which inherently introduces different amounts of expansion and shrinkage of the individual layers including glass, solar cells, polymeric encapsulants, and backsheet. There is no doubt that these effects translate into the cell in the form of deflection and stresses. Thus far though, only the consequences of this have been tracked in terms of failure modes-microcracks, delamination, stress points, etc. The general approaches have been applied to optimize processes with a focus on encapsulant properties, such as degree of cross-linking, moisture permeability, and their long-term lifetime, overlooking their effect on the solar cells. Module reliability is a major driver to lower the levelized cost of electricity and the bankability of projects, and more effort needs to be placed in predictive failure analysis and the optimization of the module components from the point of view of the active components-the cells. In this paper, we propose an in-house X-ray based technique as a novel approach to assess the state of the solar cell under polymeric encapsulation inside a fully assembled module. This gives access for the first time not only to the evaluation of cracks and microdefects, but also to the cell deflection and stress distribution inside the encapsulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Deflection
  • Encapsulation
  • Module lamination
  • Reliability
  • Solar cell
  • Strain
  • Stress
  • X-ray topography (XRT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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