Modules and reliability

The activities of the Module & reliability group primarily focus on understanding the degradation mechanisms of PV modules and developing solutions to mitigate them. The design of innovative modules and concepts for architecture, building and vehicle integrated PV or portable applications.


The activities of the Module & Reliability group focus primarily on: 1) understanding/mitigation/modelling of failure modes in solar modules 2) design of innovative module concepts/architectures (such as lightweight and bifacial PV modules) 3) design of solar modules for BIPV/VIPV (Building & Vehicle Integrated PV) and portable applications 4) development of innovative testing and characterization protocols for solar cells/modules and BIPV products The lab is well equipped with tools for module manufacturing, advanced characterization techniques for polymers and equipment for performance/life-time testing and monitoring of modules.

Module failure analysis and mitigation

Examples of soft failures (left), and of a hards failure (right) in modules fielded for over 35 years. [see Virtuani et al. . 35 years of photovoltaics: Analysis of the TISO10kW solar plant, lessons learnt in safety and performance – Part 1, Prog Photovolt Res Appl. 2019;27:328–339, and Annigoni et al. idem – Part 2, Prog Photovolt Res Appl. 2019].

Lightweight concept

Development of lightweight solor PV modules comes with a wide range of challenge to guarantee the integrity of the modules after thermal cycling and damp-heat tests.

Long-term power plant monitoring

power distribution for the full set of 288 modules belonging to the Tiso-10 PV plant measured in (a) 2010 after 28 years of operation, and in (b) 2017 after 35 years.

Recent publications

The effect of partial shading on the reliability of photovoltaic modules in the built-environment

E. Ozkalay; F. Valoti; M. Caccivio; A. Virtuani; G. Friesen et al. 

Epj Photovoltaics. 2024-02-28. Vol. 15, p. 7. DOI : 10.1051/epjpv/2024001.

A comprehensive physical model for the sensitivity of silicon heterojunction photovoltaic modules to water ingress

L. Gnocchi; O. A. Arruti; C. Ballif; A. Virtuani 

Cell Reports Physical Science. 2024-01-17. Vol. 5, num. 1, p. 101751. DOI : 10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101751.

Towards a quantification of thermal and thermomechanical stress for modules in building-integrated photovoltaics configurations

H. Quest; A. W. Fairbrother; C. Ballif; A. Virtuani 

Progress In Photovoltaics. 2023-12-26. DOI : 10.1002/pip.3762.

Potential-induced degradation in bifacial silicon heterojunction solar modules: Insights and mitigation strategies

O. Arriaga Arruti; L. Gnocchi; Q. Jeangros; C. Ballif; A. Virtuani 

Progress In Photovoltaics. 2023-12-25. DOI : 10.1002/pip.3765.

Accurate color characterization of solar photovoltaic modules for building integration

A. B. Block; J. E. Palou; A. Faes; A. Virtuani; C. Ballif 

Solar Energy. 2023-12-02. Vol. 267, p. 112227. DOI : 10.1016/j.solener.2023.112227.