7. Non Metallic NDE, Acoustic Microscopy
The U.S. Department of Energy's program to develop photovoltaic solar arrays by 1986, that have a useful life of twenty years with a selling price of fifty cents per watt, has resulted in a new rapidly advancing photovoltaic industry and technology. Current projections based on current solar module hardware experience indicate that the 1986 electrical performance and cost goals can be met. However, field exposure experience with newly formulated solar cell configurations and encapsulation material systems is very limited, and the long-term, life-limiting failure modes and degradation rates have yet to be determined. To develop a data base for life prediction and performance degradation rate measurement a number of new and state-of-the-art NDE methods are being evaluated for laboratory and field use in detecting flaws, failures and subtle material changes in experimental solar modules. In addition to the normal visual, photographic, and electrical performance measurements being made, several new techniques show promise of practical application.
Coulbert, C. D. and Arnett, J. C., "Application of Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) in Assessing the State-of-Health of Photovoltaic Solar Arrays" (1980). Proceedings of the DARPA/AFML Review of Progress in Quantitative NDE, July 1978–September 1979. 27.