Test for leakage current resistance in modules

These can theoretically occur in all crystalline modules and cause a drop in the module's output. The effect, which is known among specialists as potential-induced degradation (PID), is caused by high negative voltages and is accentuated by high humidity and high temperatures. The leakage currents occur at the module-frame transition.

During the test, a voltage of -1,000 V is applied to modules from current series production for seven days while the temperature is kept at 25 °C. If the module's nominal capacity drops by less than 5 % during this time span, the test has been passed, and the module is regarded as PID-resistant. All of the three companies Schott Solar, Q-Cells and Solon SE that were involved in the development of the test have passed it. But there were reportedly modules from other manufacturers that showed a drop in capacity of more than 50 %. So far, however, no names have been mentioned.

Leakage currents can be avoided in completed installations as well, for example by using inverters that do not generate any negative voltages, or by earthing the installation. But it is more economical to counteract the effect in the module itself, says Schott Solar.

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