Evaluation of the reliability of high concentrator GaAs solar cells by means of temperature accelerated aging tests


Correspondence: Neftalí Núñez, Electrónica-Física, EUIT Telecomunicación-UPM, Carretera de Valencia Km 7, 28031 Madrid, Spain.

E-mail: neftali.nunez@upm.es


Evaluating the reliability, warranty period, and power degradation of high concentration solar cells is crucial to introducing this new technology to the market. The reliability of high concentration GaAs solar cells, as measured in temperature accelerated life tests, is described in this paper. GaAs cells were tested under high thermal accelerated conditions that emulated operation under 700 or 1050 suns over a period exceeding 10 000 h. Progressive power degradation was observed, although no catastrophic failures occurred. An Arrhenius activation energy of 1.02 eV was determined from these tests. The solar cell reliability [R(t)] under working conditions of 65°C was evaluated for different failure limits (1–10% power loss). From this reliability function, the mean time to failure and the warranty time were evaluated. Solar cell temperature appeared to be the primary determinant of reliability and warranty period, with concentration being the secondary determinant. A 30-year warranty for these 1 mm2-sized GaAs cells (manufactured according to a light emitting diode-like approach) may be offered for both cell concentrations (700 and 1050 suns) if the solar cell is operated at a working temperature of 65°C. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.