UL gets DOE funding for backsheet durability testing project

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety science organization, has received $1.35 million under the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

The funding is meant to help UL further develop scientific methods to predict PV module material performance and reliability over time.

The project is expected to help create better polymeric backsheets by providing data on long-term field reliability through accelerated laboratory testing.

The backsheet is a thin multilayer plastic sheet which covers the back of a module. It protects people from high voltage and parts within a panel from damaging ultraviolet light and the elements.

In many cases, backsheets have been found to get degraded in the early years of installation. Market pressures have led many module makers focus more on costs, which is causing the use of materials and combinations that have no proven durability characteristics.

The results of the project will enable deeper understanding of the reliability of backsheets and will reduce the uncertainty of PV module reliability predictions.

Ajith Kumar S