New Imaging System Displays Solar Panel Imperfections in Bright Sunlight too

In a new development, researchers have designed and demonstrated a new system that can detect flaws in solar panels for full and partial sunlight irrespective of weather conditions. This is because current methods are unable to detect defects in daylight conditions, thus the new system could make it much easier for optimal functioning of solar panels.

In fact, silicon solar panels that make up for around 90% of the solar panels in the world often have defects that are related to manufacturing, handling, or installation. These defects could be responsible to diminish the efficiency of solar panels to a considerable extent thus making it important for them to be detected quickly and easily.

The findings published in the journal Applied Optics describes how a unique combination of new software and hardware allows imperfections in solar panels to be clearly revealed and examined even in bright light.

Meanwhile, defect detection systems used today can only be used to discover defects at night or on modules of solar panels that have been separated and moved inside or in a shaded environment. This system could find use to help inspecting personnel at photovoltaic power stations detect defects and spot them more quickly for these systems to be able to produce electricity at their maximum output.

Importantly, following the development, an all-weather imaging system is developed that is functional in any lighting conditions. For defects to be visible, the researchers developed software that applies modulated electric current on a solar panel, which results into emitting of light that turns on and off very quickly. The apparatus requires an InGaAs detector with extremely high frame rate and is used to obtain a series of images of the solar panels as electric current passes on.