• photovoltaic modules;
  • performance ratio;
  • long-term reliability;
  • long-term degradation;
  • maximum power temperature coefficient


Various kinds of photovoltaic (PV) modules have been developed and practically operated as PV systems up to present. Investigation of the long-term reliability of PV modules is indispensable for the use of PV systems as reliable energy sources. In this study, we show the results of outdoor exposure test in which the performance of 14 PV modules composed of five different kinds made by six different PV manufacturers have been measured since July 2004. The average performance is calculated in each year from 2005 to 2008, and the performance degradation is quantitatively evaluated. The results are that the magnitude of the performance degradation can be clearly classified by the kinds of the PV modules. The performance difference of the single-crystalline silicon (sc-Si) modules between 2005 and 2008 is from 1.9% to 2.8%. Polycrystalline silicon (pc-Si) modules show performance degradation from 0.7% to 1.4%. The performance of an amorphous silicon/crystalline silicon (a-Si:H/c-Si) decreased by 0.7%. Although a pair of a-Si modules had been already exposed to sunlight for about 6 months, the pair of modules show 4.4% of performance degradation. More than half of the performance degradation happened during the initial period from 2005 to 2006. This indicates that it takes about 2 years until the performance of a-Si modules is stable. The performance is quite stable after 2006. Interestingly, the performance of the cupper indium gallium diselenide modules in 2008 is about 0.8% higher than that in 2005. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.