Key Topic Desert Module

At a Glance

  • Production and evaluation of optimized solar modules with new cells and materials
  • Yield analyses and outdoor tests with a global network of partners in various climate zones (for example Green Energy Park Ben Guerir Morocco)
  • Testing and analysis of the soiling of solar modules


Fraunhofer CSP and IRESEN in Morocco Intensify Collaboration


Fraunhofer CSP Receives Photovoltaica Recognition Award

Fraunhofer CSP has been awarded for its services in the development of renewable energies in Morocco.


Fast Check for Solar Modules

The research team »Fidelitas« is striving to achieve higher yields in the use of photovoltaics in specific climates.

Optimization and Processing of Full Scale Desert Modules

  • Development of new module concepts and integration of new materials for the special requirements in desert environments
  • Use of simulation methods in the development of solar modules
    (e.g. SPICE, FEM, CFD, ISLAND, ...)


Site-specific Reliability Assessment

  • Performance analysis of PV systems
  • Individual test scenarios for PV modules and components (including increased dust exposure, UV irradiation and temperature exposure)
  • Analysis of the aging of polymer materials (e.g., combined UV, moisture, and heat testing)


Development of Testing Methods and Equipment

  • Conception and prototyping of test equipment, such as:
    • Automated soiling test bench
    • „„LED solar simulator for desert EQE
    • „„Lightsoaker for LID tests
  • Characterization and understanding of aging processes down to microstructural levels
  • Creation of standards, participation in standardization committees

characterization of dust-soiled glass in a test field in Qatar
© Fraunhofer CSP
REM, FIB, TEM & EDX characterization of dust-soiled glass in a test field in Qatar.
© Fraunhofer CSP
With the Lightsoaker+ we investigate the causes and mechanisms of the light-induced degradation of solar cells and modules.
  • Basic investigations on cementation processes in desert regions (Qatar)

Using microstructural investigations of dusty glasses from outdoor experiments in Qatar, the cause of the strong adhesion of dust could be clarified. The reason for this fenomenon are cementation processes which take place, in particular, in the presence of moisture / condensation. On the basis of these findings a test set-up was developed, which can depict soiling processes of solar modules in a realistic manner.

Further information on soiling issues in photovoltaics

  • Fatigue analysis of solar cell connectors for different sites

The Fraunhofer CSP combines climate analysis with simulations of virtual prototypes to describe the progress of the fatigue of ductile materials such as the copper core of solar cell connectors. Furthermore, a test set-up has been developed, which allows to carry out life cycle analyzes of solar cell interconnectors in the modulaminate quickly and with little effort.

  • Microstructural investigations of the abrasion of anti-reflective coatings due to cleaning processes

In order to assess the effects of cleaning processes on anti-reflection coatings, after accelerated cleaning and abrasion tests surfaces were examined at the microstructural level (cooperation with PI Berlin). For this purpose, the methods of optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used at Fraunhofer CSP. The results show the interrelationship between microstructural changes of the glass surfaces and macroscopic reflection measurements. Furthermore, it was shown that the abrasion tests can represent the damage patterns of the cleaning experiments with a significantly lower number of test cycles.

  • Investigations on light-induced degradation (LID) of solar cells and modules

Under illumination, the efficiency of solar cells and modules can be reduced by up to 20% rel. This is particularly noticeable in desert regions because there the process is accelerated by high temperatures and irradiation. At Fraunhofer CSP, we investigate the causes of LID mechanisms and develop models that quantify the degradation and regeneration. In addition to the investigations we develop devices that enable rapid degradation tests under controlled conditions and an assessment of the regeneration potential.

  • Preventing the light-induced degradation (LID) of solar cells and modules

On the basis of the cause research we developed an innovative procedure suitable for mass production, that helps to prevent the light-induced degradation. By means of specific kinetic models for individual LID types, predictions can be made about the necessary parameters of the stabilization process. Together with industrial partners, a prototype is to be developed, which can be used in the current solar cell production. This intends to ensure long-term stability of the modules even under extreme climatic conditions.

Fidelitas solar panel
© Fraunhofer CSP
Reliability analysis of photovoltaic modules are crucial for the profitable operation of the plants.
Gebaeude Einbau Solarmodule Effektivität
© MEV-Verlag
In Fassaden integrierte Solarmodule bieten vor allem im Sonnengürtel der Erde (hier das Businessviertel Sheikh Zaid Road in Dubai) große Potenziale.
  • Methods for assessing the reliability of PV modules and their components (Fidelitas)  

Within this project Fraunhofer CSP focuses on the analysis of defects and degradation phenomena of PV modules. In particular, the soiling of PV modules in desert regions is a major focus. Another focus is the degradation of plastic components and the impact on components such as solar cells and solar cell connectors. On this basis, we aim to define boundary conditions to specifically adapt PV modules with regard to the requirements in desert regions.
The project is funded by the BMWi promotion code 0325735C.

  • Investigation of novel encapsulation materials for building-integrated photovoltaic modules in extreme climates (PV Extreme)

The aim of the project is the development of special encapsulation materials for application in buildings. The focus of the Fraunhofer CSP within this project is the definition of extended test sequences for the requirements in extreme climatic zones.
The project is sponsored by the state of Saxony-Anhalt - project number 1604/00009.

  • Defect analysis and life-time modeling on solar modules (LAURA)  

Within this project Fraunhofer CSP deals with the lifetime analysis of solar cell connectors. The aim is to develop a simulation-based model, which allows fatigue analyses for different climate zones. In addition, we develop a test method to carry out such analyses also experimentally and, e.g. as a quality assurance test.
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) within the »R & D PV« project »LAURA« (project number: 0325716B).

Internationale Kooperation Auszeichnung Solarenergie
© Photovoltaica 2016
Matthias Ebert (left), Deputy Head of the Fraunhofer CSP, and Lahcen Daoudi, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research in Morocco, received awards during the PhotoVoltaica. Right: Badr Ikken, Head of the Institut de Recherche en Energie Solaire et Energies Nouvelles (IRESEN).
  • Institut de Recherche en Energie Solaire et Energies Nouvelles IRESEN Green Energy Park, Morocco
  • Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute QEERI, Qatar
  • Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore SERIS

  • K. Ilse et al., Microstructural analysis of the cementation process during soiling on glass surfaces in arid and semi-arid climates, physica status solidi (RRL) 10 (7), 509–572 (2016).
  • Ferretti, N.; Ilse, K.; Sönmez, A.; Hagendorf, C.; Berghold, J. (2016): Investigation on the Impact of Module Cleaning on the Antireflection Coating. 4 pages / 32nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition; 1697-1700. DOI: 10.4229/EUPVSEC20162016-5DO.10.5
  • H. Hanifi, D. Dassler, J. Schneider, M. Turek, S. Schindler und J. Bagdahn:Optimized tab width in half-cell modules, Energy Procedia, 2016.
  • H. Hanifi, C. Pfau, D. Dassler, S. Schindler, J. Schneider, M. Turek und J. Bagdahn: Investigation of cell-to-module (CTM) ratios of PV modules by analysis of loss and gain mechanisms, Photovoltaic International Q2 2016.
  • H. Hanifi, D. Dassler, K. Ilse, R. Meier, S. Dietrich, J. Schneider, M. Ebert, C. Hagendorf und J. Bagdahn: KEY TECHNICAL CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PV MODULES IN IRAN, in Intersolar Global, Iran Summit, Tehran, 2016
  • T. Luka, Ch. Hagendorf, M. Turek: Multicrystalline PERC solar cells: Is light-induced degradation challenging the efficiency gain of rear, Photovoltaics International 32, p. 37, (2016)
  • Ebert, M.: Challenges for Solar Modules in Extreme Climates - Performance and Reliability, 2nd Edition International Solar Energy Exhibition & Conference (Photovoltaica) Casablanca, Marokko; 18.05.2016 - 20.05.2016, ID 1071
  • Malik, S.; Ebert, M.; Naimi Z.; Ikken, B.; DEVELOPMENT OF OUTDOOR RESEARCH PLATFORMS AND TESTS ON PHOTOVOLTAIC MODULES IN THE GREEN ENERGY PARK IN MOROCCO in Proc. of 1st Africa Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition Africa PVSEC 2014, Durban; WIP Renewable Energies; 19 – 23
  • Malik, S.; Daßler, D.; Fröbel, F.; Pandiyan, A.; Ebert, M.: Angular-Dependent Outdoor Investigation of Bifacial Modules in Proc. of 32nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition; WIP München (Eds.); WIP München, München (2016) 2191 - 2196; 710/2016