PERC technology provides high-performance capabilities for solar cells and modules, but there are several potential hazards that can diminish its effectiveness. In order to protect products from degradation, safety risks and management problems, Q CELLS developed yield security technologies including Anti-PID, Anti-LID, Hot-Spot Protect and Tra.Q™ to provide ultimate reliability and peace of mind.
Yield Security is a group of five separate technologies pioneered by Q CELLS that together act as a guarantee of maximum performance and product protection in Q CELLS’ proprietary Q.ANTUM technology. Click the Icons below to learn more.
Potential Induced Degradation can lead to a performance loss of up to 20%. Through understanding and research of the PID effect, since 2012 all Q CELLS products come with Anti PID Technology. Q CELLS proprietary Anti PID technology prevents potential induced degradation (PID) and secures reliable energy yields. As a result, not a single PID fail with Q CELLS solar modules occurred in the field.
In all photovoltaic systems voltage differences occur between the frames and the solar cells of a module. Especially in wet weather this can lead to undesired leakage currents which can decrease the performance of the cells and result in yield losses of 20 % or more. This effect has been named “Potential Induced Degradation”, abbreviated “PID”.
PID decreases a system’s yield which often leads to high claim rates. Proving PID is a very complicated and costly process. Q CELLS prevents PID at the cell level so that PV systems permanently generate reliably high yields.
– Q CELLS’ proprietary Anti PID Technology (APT) optimizes the cell production process so that the negative effects of leakage currents are already eliminated at the cell level. This makes our solar products PID-resistant¹. In short: Q CELLS PV systems are not affected by any PID-related performance loss. That means peace of mind to our investors and installers.
– ¹ PT-Test Conditions: Modules at –1500 V against frames / supports, module surface wet, 25 °C, 168 h.
LeTID (Light and elevated Temperature Induced Degradation) requires both light and high temperatures to occur and progress – making Australia’s warm and sunny climate particularly vulnerable. Q.ANTUM’s Anti LID Technology permanently deactivates these Boron-Oxygen complexes in the factory. Thus ensuring minimal LID in Q.ANTUM Mono cells.
Similarly, LeTID, or Light and Temperature Induced Degratdation, can cause degradation of 6% within the first three years of operation, depending on the climate of the installation site.
Q.ANTUM, as the most mature PERC technology, protects from degradation phenomena such as LID, LeTID and others like PID.
In the past, Mono modules have always suffered from higher LID than Poly modules. This is due to a higher concentration of Oxygen in the silicon wafers from which the cells were produced. This is an unavoidable side-effect of the Mono wafer production process.
Oxygen forms complexes with the Boron added to make wafers “P-Type”. During the initial exposure to light, these B-O complexes trap free electrons, permanently reducing the power of the module by up to 3%.
It is recommended that anyone using PERC modules should test for LeTID. Testing using a climate chamber to maintain a temperature of 75 °C along with current injection to the module of about 1 ampere (1 A) for several days will reveal LeTID in PERC modules. Such testing needs to quickly become industry standard to protect investments.
It was thought that LeTID only affected Poly PERC, but as the availability of PERC products has increased, the industry has become aware that this degradation also affects the much more common Mono PERC modules.
In order to detect Hot-Spots, Q CELLS uses an infrared (IR) camera while reverse current flows throughout all cells at the final inspection stages. The apparatus cells that heat spots and these cells are later sorted out for recycling.
Solar cells with Hot-Spots can heat up to such a high temperature that parts of a module burn out. In the worst case scenario, a module can catch fire. Q CELLS products guarantee a very high level of reliability and safety. Thanks to our advanced production process we are able to keep cool about Hot-Spots. We only ship and process solar cells that are 100 % Hot-Spot free and are the only solar manufacturer that can identify hot-spots.
During the production process our silicon wafers are exposed to both chemicals and severe heat of up to 900 ℃. They are also subject to mechanical stress during transport and production. These factors may lead to small material defects that cannot be detected during conventional final inspections. Defective edge insulation may also lead to Hot-Spots.
Hot-Spots really pop-up when modules are in partial shade. When one cell in a module is shaded, it doesn’t generate any current, but the rest of the cells in the module continue to work. This leads to reverse currents that prefer to run over the Hot-Spot area where they meet less electric resistance. Then, caused by this strong, isolated stress, parts of the Hot-Spot area may heat up to over 250 ℃. At this point, the cell may melt. In some cases this only leads to a loss of yield, but in the worst case the module might catch fire.
Many manufacturers simply lower the so-called breakdown voltage of the cells. This does reduce the maximum level to which a cell heats up, but it also reduces the cell’s performance. At Q CELLS, however, a reverse current is put through all cells during the final inspection stages. An infrared camera then shows any Hot-Spot as heat spot. Cells with Hot-Spots are then sorted out and recycled. The result is that our solar cells and modules are Hot-Spot free. We are the only manufacturer that is able to sort out all Hot-Spot affected cells across the board in order to provide solar owners with the ultimate level of quality and safety.
The Tra.Q™ code contains information about the place and date of production. Every Q CELLS solar cell has its own unique code. This makes it possible to trace each of our solar cells.
The result: 100 % product traceability and no chance for product forgery!
When you buy fruit at the market you have the right to know where it was grown. We feel the same principle should apply to solar cells and modules. You can feel secure knowing that you have bought a genuine Q CELLS product. Further, Traceable Quality (Tra.Q™) enables us to completely trace the entire manufacturing process for each individual solar cell – this includes the serial number, the date and location of production and even which material charge was used to make the cell. We can thus better analyze errors and even improvements as they arise and quickly respond to it.
Solar cells are the heart of any PV system. There are now hundreds of solar cell manufacturers whose cells come from all over the world. Unfortunately, product piracy has also hit the photovoltaic industry. We know for sure what’s in our products and we can prove it beyond a doubt. Q CELLS solar cells carrying the Tra.Q™ label can be clearly identified. This ensures transparency and means you can count on secure yields!
With Tra.Q™ every solar cell is labeled with a unique code. Thanks to specially-developed laser technology, the cell isn’t damaged in this process. The code can then later be read with a special device. Tra.Q™ is like a fingerprint for a solar cell. At the moment, Q CELLS is the only brand in the solar industry to offer the patented Tra.Q™ labeling technology.
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