Silicon carbide enables solar inverters to be lighter, smaller and more efficient. Using silicon carbide power components instead of silicon for solar inverters can save 10 megawatts for each gigawatt and 500 watts/sec in operations, representing significant energy savings.
The trends with the biggest impact that we are seeing all revolve around the design of module frames. There are a number of module manufacturers who have reduced the length of the flange found on the underside of a typical module frame.
Faulty connections during installation can lead to hot spots, and eventually to fires, faulty equipment either due to defects during the manufacturing process or due to damage or lack of maintenance, general degradation.
Sue Holmes for Phys.org: People think of corrosion as rust on cars or oxidation that blackens silver, but it also harms critical electronics and connections in solar panels, lowering the amount of electricity produced.
"It's challenging to predict and even more challenging to design ways to reduce it because it's highly dependent on material and environmental conditions," said Eric Schindelholz, a Sandia National Laboratories materials reliability researcher who studies corrosion and how it affects photovoltaic (PV) system performance.
Sandia researchers from different departments collaborate to accelerate corrosion under controlled conditions and use what they learn to help industry develop longer-lasting PV panels and increase reliability. For example, work by Olga Lavrova of Sandia's Photovoltaic and Distributed Systems Integration department demonstrated, for the first time, a link between corrosion and the risk of arc faults in PV systems' electrical connections. Research by Erik Spoerke of Sandia's Electronic, Optical and Nano Materials department focuses on developing new nanocomposite films that could dramatically increase reliability. Cont'd...
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