Potential Induced Degradation

The phenomenon of Potential-Induced Degradation (PID) is based on a power loss degradation caused by a negative potential of the solar cells towards earth, which leads to an accumulation of Na+ located in the glass and migrating into the solar cells damaging the p-n junction responsible for the electron flow [14]. The degree of affection is highly dependent on the level of the potential (voltage stress). The first bibliographic references relate to the investigations carried out by Hoffman and Ross (JPL) in 1978 (“Impact of voltage-biased humidity exposure of solar modules on long-term stability”) in which this physical effect was internationally presented for the first time. The PID effect was associated in the past principally to back contact cell technology, TCO corrosion in thin film modules and processes based upon band silicon. In recent years, the PID effect has also been linked to silicon technology; thus, this phenomenon has become more and more relevant due to the enormous amount of solar facilities built with this technology.

The necessary conditions for the appearance of PID in the field can be summarized as follows:

  • High system voltage (has increased in the last years in order to minimize transport losses in the string)
  • High relative humidity and high temperature
  • Certain combination of materials (glass, encapsulate material, etc.)

The degree of PID of the PV modules decreases towards the positive pole, with the first modules of the negative pole being usually the most affected with power drops up to 95% in cases of advanced PID.

(13 of 100 sites) 13%
average loss
max loss