Solder Bond Degradation of Fielded PV Modules: Climate Dependence of Intermetallic Compound Growth

Archana Sinha, Viswa Sai Pavan Buddha, Eric J. Schneller, Kristopher O. Davis, Govindasamy Tamizhmani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Solder bond degradation is typically ranked in the top two degradation modes observed in the field deployed modules. One of the main reasons for the solder bond degradation is the formation of intermetallic compounds (IMC) at the solder-cell metallization interfaces. The growth of IMC layer is dictated by the microclimate factors in which the modules are being exposed over several years. This paper presents the characterization and analysis of IMC layer of the modules, with identical model/type (Siemens M55), retrieved from two different field climates - Arizona (hot and dry) and Florida (hot and humid) along with an unexposed control module. The modules were tested with current-voltage (I-V), electroluminescence imaging and infrared thermography. The series resistance (Rs) and other electrical parameters of individual cells were obtained from dark I-V curves. The field induced degradation of Cu ribbon-solder and solder-Ag busbar interfaces were examined with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) profiling. The IMC thickness is calculated, which exhibits a good correlation with cell Rs. Arizona modules operating at elevated operating temperatures suffered from thermomechanical fatigue, leading to the detachment of soldered ribbon from both top and rear cell contacts, while Florida modules showed higher degradation predominantly at the rear contacts due to the moisture transport and attack through the backsheet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2019 IEEE 46th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781728104942
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Event46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Jun 16 2019Jun 21 2019

Publication series

NameConference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-8371


Conference46th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • IMC
  • PV module
  • SEM
  • climate
  • intermetallic compound
  • series resistance
  • solder bond degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Solder Bond Degradation of Fielded PV Modules: Climate Dependence of Intermetallic Compound Growth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this