What is Light Induced Degradation (LID) in Solar Panels?

Light Induced Degradation (LID) is a loss of performances arising in the early first hours of solar panels getting exposed to the sun with solar Crystalline modules It affects the real performance other than the tested by the PV manufacturers making a difference in the printed label at STC conditions & the real output numbers. when the modules are categorized according to their final factory flash test for determining their Nominal Power class, the LID will indeed represent a loss with respect to STC. The LID loss is related to the quality of the wafer manufacturing, and may be in the range of 1% to 3%. It is due to traces of Oxygen included in the molten Silicon during the Czochralski process. Under the light exposition effect, these positive-charged O2 dimers may diffuse across the silicon lattice, and create complexes with boron dopant acceptors. The boron-oxygen complexes create their separate layer of energy in the silicon structure which loss of power.

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What are the causes of LID in Solar Panels?

  • 1-Initial sunlight: LID takes place in the very early hours of sunlight making the solar panels efficiency effected due to this initial exposure. This can differ from a place to another because some places have a longer initial hours of sunlight which will affect the solar panels further. However, other places have a much shorter period of initial sunlight lowering the effect of LID in this case.

How to Achieve Low LID in Solar Panels?

  • 1-Factory testing: Low LID in Solar Panels is achieve by the early testing of solar panels in the factory to ensure that LID doesn’t pass a certain level to be able to perform as writing on the back sheet for its lifetime ensuring no accelerated degradation.
  • 2- Hydrogenation: in 2017 group of scientists have reached that using hydrogen with solar cells can achieve Low LID levels. This is all because hydrogen can have zero electrons which is known as hydrogen positive ion & can have two electrons which is a hydrogen negative ion eliminating most of the reactions cause by LID.

What is Low LID?

Low Light-Induced Degradation (LID) is a phenomenon that has long been a concern in the world of solar energy. When a solar panel is first exposed to sunlight, it often experiences a temporary reduction in its efficiency, which is referred to as LID. This drop in efficiency is primarily attributed to the interaction of light with certain defects in the silicon material used in solar cells. Over time, as the solar panel continues to be exposed to sunlight, these defects saturate, and the panel's performance stabilizes, leading to a gradual recovery of efficiency.   Low LID, as the name suggests, is a feature designed to minimize this initial reduction in efficiency. It is a testament to the relentless pursuit of improving solar technology. The primary goal of Low LID is to make solar panels more efficient from the moment they are installed, thus enhancing their overall performance throughout their lifespan.

Benefits of the Low LID Feature

1. Enhanced Initial Performance

One of the primary advantages of Low LID is its ability to ensure that solar panels perform closer to their rated efficiency right from the start. This can be especially advantageous in situations where energy production needs to meet specific requirements immediately.

2. Improved Energy Yield

By reducing the initial drop in efficiency, Low LID solar panels generate more electricity in their early operational life, ultimately leading to increased energy yield. This can translate into higher returns on investment for solar projects.

3. Longer Lifespan

Low LID not only improves the initial performance but also contributes to the long-term durability of solar panels. Minimizing the stress that LID puts on solar cells can lead to a longer operational life, further enhancing the economic viability of solar installations.

4. Enhanced Reliability

Solar panels equipped with the Low LID feature tend to be more reliable, with a lower risk of performance-related issues. This reliability is a crucial factor for solar installers and EPC professionals, as it reduces the likelihood of warranty claims and maintenance requirements.

5. Improved Customer Satisfaction

For solar installers and EPC companies, customer satisfaction is paramount. Low LID panels deliver on the promise of higher efficiency and longer life, which can lead to happier customers and better reviews.

Techniques Employed by Solar Manufacturers

Solar panel manufacturers employ various techniques to build the Low LID feature into their products. These techniques aim to minimize the impact of LID during the early stages of a solar panel's life. Here are some of the key methods:

1. Silicon Material Selection

The choice of silicon material is fundamental in addressing LID. Manufacturers may opt for high-quality, low-LID silicon, or they may use specific silicon treatments to reduce the impact of defects that lead to LID.

2. Hydrogenation

Hydrogenation is a process that involves introducing hydrogen into the solar cell structure during production. This can passivate defects in the silicon material, reducing the impact of LID.

3. Annealing

Annealing is a post-production treatment that exposes the solar panels to controlled heating. This process can effectively reduce LID by stabilizing the silicon material's defects.

4. Improved Passivation Techniques

Developments in passivation techniques, which prevent defects from interacting with light, have been instrumental in reducing LID. These techniques are continually evolving, and manufacturers incorporate the latest advancements to create low-LID panels.

5. Advanced Anti-Reflective Coatings

The development of advanced anti-reflective coatings not only enhances the efficiency of solar panels but also helps mitigate LID by minimizing the reflection of light and reducing the defects' interaction with photons.   These techniques are often used in combination to create solar panels with the lowest possible LID, ensuring that they perform optimally from day one.

Applications of Low LID Solar Panels

Low LID solar panels have found applications in various sectors of the solar industry. Their versatility and superior performance make them a preferred choice in the following scenarios:

1. Residential Solar Installations

Homeowners looking to maximize their solar investments benefit from low-LID panels, as they deliver higher energy production and reliability. These panels are ideal for residential rooftops, where space is limited, and every watt of energy matters.

2. Commercial and Industrial Projects

Low LID panels are often chosen for larger solar installations, such as those on commercial and industrial buildings. The improved efficiency and reliability of these panels make them suitable for projects that demand consistent and high energy output.

3. Utility-Scale Solar Farms

In utility-scale solar farms, where hundreds or even thousands of panels are installed, the use of low-LID technology can significantly impact overall energy production and project profitability. These panels contribute to a more stable and efficient power generation system.

4. Off-Grid and Remote Applications

Off-grid and remote applications, such as solar-powered telecommunications equipment or remote weather stations, benefit from the immediate and long-term reliability of low-LID panels. These panels ensure that critical equipment remains operational even in challenging environments.

How to Identify Solar Panels with the Low LID Feature

Identifying whether a solar panel incorporates the Low LID feature is crucial for procurement managers and installers. Here are several methods to determine whether a solar panel is equipped with this advanced technology:

1. Manufacturer's Specifications

The first and most reliable source of information is the manufacturer's specifications and product documentation. Reputable manufacturers provide detailed information about their panels, including their LID characteristics.

2. Certification Labels

Look for certification labels on the solar panel. Certifying bodies often require manufacturers to provide LID data as part of the certification process. These labels are a good indicator of the panel's low LID characteristics.

3. Data Sheets

Solar panel data sheets are comprehensive documents that outline the panel's technical specifications. Look for details related to LID and initial efficiency in these data sheets.

4. Manufacturer's Website

The manufacturer's official website is a valuable resource for gathering information about their products. Most manufacturers maintain up-to-date product information on their websites, including details about the Low LID feature.

5. Inquire with Suppliers

If you are purchasing solar panels through a supplier, don't hesitate to ask them about the Low LID feature. Reputable suppliers should be well-informed about the products they offer and can provide you with the necessary information.   In conclusion, the Low LID feature in solar panels represents a significant advancement in the solar industry. Its ability to enhance initial performance, increase energy yield, extend panel lifespan, improve reliability, and boost customer satisfaction makes it a compelling choice for solar installers, procurement managers, and EPC professionals. By understanding the techniques employed by solar manufacturers, recognizing its applications, and knowing how to identify this feature, you can make informed decisions that lead to more efficient and economically viable solar projects. Low LID is not just a feature; it's a key to unlocking the full potential of solar energy generation.