In the PVMirror project, we combine the technique of Photovoltaic and CSP(Concentrated Solar Power) together. Generally speaking, a band-pass mirror film is encapsulanted in front of solar cell inside a curved PV module so that PVMirror could have 20% Photovoltaic efficiency in day time and 6 hours of dispatch electricity at night.
The mirror film is designed that only near-infrared photons can be transmitted through the mirror and then the rest reflected to thermal convertor at focus of curved glass. Our role in this project is module making and reliability tests. There are several reliability issues regarding PVMirror such as laminating curved modules, putting another layer of mirror film inside module, keeping mirror conformal and smooth.
A lot of lamination experiments were performed to find the best lamination recipe (temperature and time) and the best encapsulants for this project. Meantime mechanical tests such as peel test and wind loading test are needed for reliability concern.
Besides the big picture, we are using X-ray topography to map the stress and strain of solar cells beneath glass. Having a better understanding of the solar cells in module, we could successfully predict the failure mechanism of PV module, not just by analyzing the encapsulants.