What is Potential Induced Degradation (PID) in Solar Panels?

PID is caused due to a high potential difference between the solar cell material which is made of semiconductor and other parts of the module for example, glass & aluminum frame. This potential difference creates a current leakage, which cause the escape of negative and positive ions. Negative ions flow out through the aluminum frame, while positive ions escape to the cell surface. Which results in reducing solar cell photovoltaic effect, leading to power losses. PID effects can be responsible for power losses of up to 20% and the effects are not immediately noticeable it can take several months to a few years to be noticeable to the installer.

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What are the causes of PID in Solar Panels?

  • 1-Humidty: PID takes place faster as humidity increase because the water in the surrounding air concentration increase making it more reactive with the solar panels.
  • 2-Temperture: PID has direct relation with the increase in temperature as the ions have better chance to escape in high temperatures allowing Pid to take place faster.
  • 3-Grounding: negative ions with the grounding system could increase the occurrence of the PID because as more negative the panel gets the more faster PID can take place.
  • 4-Solar Cell Material: materials that solar panels made from like the glass of non-reflective coating may contain sodium ions that will help in the occurrence of PID.

How to Achieve Low PID in Solar Panels?

  • 1-Solar Panel Frame: Making the solar panel frameless will decrease the occurrence effect on the solar panels as the aluminum frame will not be present to react with any ions. That because there will be no ground potential with the solar panel.
  • 2- IEC 62804 solar panels: these types of solar panels go under different tests to determine any PID through accelerated lifetime test the panels that pass this test tend to have a Low PID than other types of solar panels which makes it preferable to be used in most of large-scale commercial applications to avoid any loses in power over time. But till date and with the use of current solar technology still there is no zero PID solar panels yet.


What is a Low PID?

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have evolved significantly in recent years, offering higher efficiency, durability, and innovative features. One of these crucial features is Low Potential Induced Degradation, commonly known as Low PID. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Low PID in solar panels. We'll explore its definition, the advantages it offers, the techniques employed by solar manufacturers to incorporate this feature, its diverse applications, and how to verify if a solar panel has this essential attribute.   Low Potential Induced Degradation, or Low PID, is a characteristic of solar panels designed to minimize the impact of potential-induced degradation, a common issue in photovoltaic systems. Potential-induced degradation occurs when voltage potential differences between the solar cells, frame, and other components lead to the leakage of electrical current. This phenomenon results in a gradual loss of efficiency, reducing a solar panel's power output over time. To combat this issue, solar manufacturers have developed Low PID technology, which significantly improves the long-term performance of solar panels.

Advantages of Low PID in Solar Panels

Low PID technology offers a multitude of advantages that can greatly benefit solar installers, procurement managers, and EPC professionals. These advantages include:

1. Enhanced Longevity

Low PID technology increases the lifespan of solar panels by mitigating the effects of potential-induced degradation. Solar panels equipped with this feature experience minimal power loss over time, ensuring reliable energy production throughout their operational life.

2. Improved Performance

Solar panels with Low PID exhibit improved energy generation capabilities. They maintain a higher efficiency level, resulting in enhanced energy yield and financial returns for solar installations.

3. Reduced Maintenance Costs

With reduced degradation and enhanced durability, maintenance costs are significantly lower for solar panels equipped with Low PID technology. Solar arrays require less frequent maintenance, reducing downtime and operating expenses.

4. Enhanced Reliability

Low PID technology enhances the overall reliability of solar panels, making them more dependable in various environmental conditions. This reliability is particularly crucial in regions with harsh climate conditions, where solar panels may be exposed to extreme temperatures and humidity.

5. Greater System Performance

When integrated into a solar installation, Low PID panels contribute to better system performance. They ensure that the entire photovoltaic system operates at peak efficiency, providing a consistent energy supply.

Techniques Employed by Solar Manufacturers

Solar panel manufacturers employ a variety of techniques to build the Low PID feature into their products. These techniques are designed to minimize potential-induced degradation and improve the overall performance of solar panels. Some common methods include:

1. Use of Anti-PID Materials

Manufacturers select high-quality materials that are resistant to potential-induced degradation. These materials, such as anti-PID encapsulants and backsheet materials, help prevent the migration of ions that can lead to degradation.

2. Improved Cell Interconnection

Solar cell interconnection techniques are optimized to reduce electrical potential differences between cells. This can be achieved through techniques like shingling or tiling, which minimize the risk of potential-induced degradation.

3. Encapsulation Technologies

Manufacturers invest in advanced encapsulation technologies to protect the solar cells from moisture and other environmental factors. Proper encapsulation is vital in preventing the onset of PID.

4. String Design and Grounding

The design of the strings and the grounding of the solar array play a significant role in reducing potential-induced degradation. Proper grounding and string design techniques can minimize voltage differences, preventing PID.

Applications of Low PID Solar Panels

Low PID solar panels find applications in a wide range of settings, making them a versatile choice for solar installers, procurement managers, and EPC professionals. Some key applications include:

1. Utility-Scale Solar Projects

Large utility-scale solar farms benefit greatly from Low PID technology. These projects demand maximum energy production and minimal downtime, and Low PID panels help achieve these goals.

2. Commercial and Industrial Installations

Commercial and industrial businesses that rely on solar energy for their operations appreciate the reliability of Low PID panels. These installations often have critical energy needs that require consistent performance.

3. Residential Rooftop Installations

For residential solar installations, Low PID panels offer homeowners peace of mind knowing that their solar array will deliver reliable energy production for years to come.

4. Off-Grid Applications

In remote or off-grid applications where maintenance is challenging, Low PID solar panels are an excellent choice. Their durability and minimal power loss make them ideal for off-grid use.

5. Hybrid Systems

Hybrid solar systems that integrate solar panels with other energy sources can benefit from Low PID panels, ensuring optimal performance within the overall energy generation mix.

How to Verify the Presence of Low PID Technology

For solar installers, procurement managers, and EPC professionals, it is essential to confirm whether a solar panel features Low PID technology. To do so, follow these steps:

1. Check Manufacturer Specifications

The first step is to review the product specifications provided by the manufacturer. Reputable manufacturers will clearly indicate if their panels are equipped with Low PID technology. Look for technical documents, brochures, or datasheets that mention this feature.

2. Inquire with the Manufacturer

If the information is not readily available in product documentation, reach out to the manufacturer directly. They should be able to confirm whether a specific panel incorporates Low PID technology and provide additional technical details.

3. Certifications and Standards

Low PID panels may have certifications or adhere to industry standards that confirm their performance. Look for certifications like IEC 62804 or UL 61730, which often cover potential-induced degradation.

4. Peer Reviews and Recommendations

Consulting with industry peers and seeking recommendations from trusted sources can provide valuable insights into the performance and reliability of solar panels. Experienced professionals may be able to share their firsthand experiences with specific products.

5. Professional Guidance

Consider consulting with a solar technical expert or engineer who specializes in solar panel performance and quality. These professionals can offer expert advice on selecting the best panels for your specific project needs.   In conclusion, Low Potential Induced Degradation (Low PID) is a critical feature in modern solar panels that offers numerous advantages, including enhanced longevity, improved performance, reduced maintenance costs, increased reliability, and greater system performance. Solar panel manufacturers employ various techniques to build this feature into their products, making it a versatile choice for utility-scale projects, commercial and industrial installations, residential rooftops, off-grid applications, and hybrid systems. To ensure that a solar panel features Low PID technology, verify manufacturer specifications, inquire directly with manufacturers, check for certifications and standards, seek peer reviews and recommendations, and consider professional guidance. By incorporating Low PID panels into your solar installations, you can maximize energy production and ensure the long-term reliability of your photovoltaic system.