Hotspots and micro-cracks: Consequences and solutions


Learn about hotspots and micro-cracks in solar panels and optimize your solar energy supply

With the transition to green energy, there has been a significant demand to combine multiple photovoltaic (PV) systems into the electrical grid to support the growth of renewable energy sources. As a result, there is a lot of interest in the reliability and durability of PV systems in the industry, as there are currently various mismatch conditions affecting these systems. One of the challenges in today’s widely recognised crystalline PV modules is the well-known phenomena known as microcracks and hotspots.

Hotspots and micro-cracks play a crucial role in crystalline silicon PV modules’ operation, performance, and maintenance. These technical challenges can significantly impact the efficiency and lifespan of solar systems and understanding and managing them is crucial to optimising energy production.

What are micro-cracks in solar panels?

Micro cracks in solar panels refer to tiny cracks that can become in the surface layer of solar cells. These microscopic damages can occur due to mechanical impacts, thermal loads, or vibrations during transport and solar panel installation. Although not immediately visible, micro-cracks can develop over time and degrade solar cell efficiency.

Proper handling and installation of solar panels are essential to minimize the risk of micro cracks. Flexible mounting methods and careful handling of solar modules during transport and installation can help prevent damage. In addition, regular inspections and thermographic surveys of the solar panels are necessary to identify any microscopic cracks and take timely action.

Hotspots and Micro-cracks in solar panels

What are hotspots in solar panels?

Solar panel hotspots refer to areas where abnormally high heat occurs due to localised problems. This problem often occurs when a cell in the solar panel is damaged and not functioning correctly. The damaged cell can prevent average power production, causing the remaining energy to be concentrated in that area. The result is a significant temperature rise, potentially causing permanent destruction of the solar cell and, in the worst-case scenario, a fire hazard.

Preventing hotspots requires advanced design and monitoring of PV systems. Effective shade management and regular inspection of the solar panels can reduce the risk of hotspots. In addition, implementing bypass diodes and thermal monitoring systems is essential to mitigate the effects of hotspots and maintain the performance of solar panels over time.

The future of solar cells

In the solar energy sector, hotspots and microcracks are just some of the challenges faced by crystalline solar cells. Research and development are focused on solving these challenges and optimizing the production of solar energy, contributing to a sustainable energy future. As a result of this research and development, there is a growing trend towards CIGS solar cells, which, unlike conventional crystalline solar cells, can eliminate microcracks and hotspots. This changing preference emphasizes not only the reliability of CIGS technology but also its potential to improve solar cell efficiency and long-term durability, making them a particularly attractive solution in renewable energy.

By combining the advantages of CIGS technology with impressive flexibility, these panels not only revolutionize our approach to solar power but also open doors to new applications.

Read more about CIGS solarpanels here.

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