Module and System Reliability

Reliability, service life and the best possible performance despite declining costs: these are the most important parameters for any manufacturer of modules. These are exactly the challenges the group »Reliability of Solar Modules and Systems« faces as they focus on the characterization of modules, components and materials.

Through a combination of methods applied in material science, testing and model building, our partners and customers get a comprehensive and well-founded characterization of modules from one source. The focus is set on material-scientific analysis, mechanical testing and characterization experiments with the module, performance measurements in the laboratory and in the field as well as mechanical and thermomechanical finite element simulations. The objective we pursue is to examine solar modules with regard to various reliability aspects, optimize them and further develop derivable technological processes and materials.

Our projects are concerned with the integration of new crystalline cell concepts, the mechanical reliability of thin-film modules of all methods, the establishment of pilot plants for the regional development of PV and the adjustment of modules to the requirements of extreme climates.

We offer:

  • Module tests in conformity with IEC standards
  • Thermomechanical finite element simulations
  • Performance and yield measurement of solar modules


Material Characterization

The characterization of physical material properties is an important prerequisite for reliability assessment, ageing investigation and quality assurance of PV module components. The Fraunhofer CSP offers standard test methods (e.g. tensile and bending tests, peel tests) as well as specially adapted tests.


Weathering Tests and Accelerated Life Time Cycling

At the Fraunhofer CSP we carry out both the standard climate tests defined in IEC 61215:2016 and extended tests or combinations of standard tests individually specified by the customer.


Outdoor Efficiency Measurements and Test Fields

In order to be able to measure PV modules under real climate conditions for our customers, we at the Fraunhofer CSP use different analysis systems that allow the characterization of up to 36 individual modules in different installation conditions.


Failure Analysis of PV Modules

The condition analysis of solar modules is a central task during the reliability and lifetime assessment of solar modules and the evaluation of field returns.

Energy Yield & Performance Measurement

Outdoor PV Lab
© Fraunhofer CSP
David Daßler and Jens Fröbel are maintaining the solar cell modules tested in the Outdoor PV Lab.
  • High voltage test equipment with up to 1 kV applied voltage
  • High voltage measuring equipment
  • Micro ohmmeter for measurement of small electrical resistance
  • Performance test in laboratory by class AAA module flasher up to 2,6 x 2,6 m²
  • Outdoor performance test with continuous IV curve recording, temperature and irradiance on modules
  • Environmental measuring for direct, diffused and global irradiance, air pressure and humidity, wind speed and direction

Weathering & Accelerated Lifetime Testing

Climate test cabinet.
© Fraunhofer CSP
Climate test cabinet.
  • Climate test cabinets 2 x 100 l, 200 l and 1500 l with a temperature range from -70°C to 180°C, air-conditioning and dampening control as well as temperature ramps of ± 2 K / min (1500 l chamber additionally with UV irradiation unit of 220 W / m² UVA / UVB)
  • Damp heat test chambers 3 x 8 m³ with temperature range 40°C to 90°C and humidity range 10 to 90 % RH
  • Climate test chamber 46 m³ at a temperature range from -60°C to 100°C, humidity range from 10 to 90% RH. including irradiation unit solar simulator AM1.5 with 1000 W / m² for an irradiated area up to 6 m²

Module Characterization

electroluminescence 4-point bending test
© Fraunhofer CSP
Test site for the mechanical loading of PV laminates with simultaneous electroluminescence (EL + 4PB).
  • Mechanical static load test bench for modules up to 2 m² with a surface load of up to 5.4 kN / m² and a multilocal deformation measurement
  • 3D image correlation system for spatially resolved measurement of local shifts and specimen strains
  • Optical module inspection
  • Electroluminescence measuring station
  • Test site for the mechanical loading of PV laminates with simultaneous electroluminescence (EL + 4PB)
  • Thermography with IR camera (resolution 640 x 480 pixels, spectral range from 7.5 to 13 μm, temperature measuring range from -40 ° C to 500 ° C, thermal sensitivity of 40 mK at 30 ° C)

Material Characterization

Precision universal testing machine
© Fraunhofer CSP
Precision universal testing machine for determining quasistatic load-deformation characteristics of materials.
  • Precision universal testing machine for determining quasistatic load-deformation characteristics of materials up to 2kN and a temperature range of -40°C to 250°C
  • Servohydraulic universal testing machine for dynamic characterization of temperature- and speed-dependent load-deformation properties of materials up to 25 kN at a temperature range of -40°C to 350°C
  • Double ring and 4 point bending test for surface strength testing of glass
  • Dilatometer for precision measurement of temperature-dependent expansion of material at the range of -150°C to 1400°C
  • Frequency measurements of structures by Laser-Doppler-Vibrometry


Sun Power from House Walls


Solar Power for Truck Roofs


GiSMo - Building Integrated Solar Module


Fast Check for Solar Modules


Lab Procedure
for Snail Trails


New Method for Crack Detection in Solar Cells