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Title: Modelling of solder interconnection's performance in photovoltaic modules for reliability prediction
Author: Zarmai, Musa Tanko
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 472X
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Standard crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules are designed to continuously convert solar energy into electricity for 25 years. However, the continual generation of electricity by the PV modules throughout their designed service life has been a concern. The key challenge has been the untimely fatigue failure of solder interconnections of solar cells in the modules due to accelerated thermo-mechanical degradation. The goal of this research is to provide adequate information for proper design of solar cell solder joint against fatigue failure through the study of cyclic thermo-mechanical stresses and strains in the joint. This is carried-out through finite element analysis (FEA) using ANSYS software to develop the solar cell assembly geometric models followed by simulations. Appropriate material constitutive model for solder alloy is employed to predict number of cycles to failure of solder joint, hence predicting its fatigue life. The results obtained from this study indicate that intermetallic compound thickness (TIMC); solder joint thickness (TSJ) and width (WSJ) have significant impacts on fatigue life of solder joint. The impacts of TIMC and TSJ are such that as the thicknesses increases solder joint fatigue life decreases. Conversely, as solder joint width (WSJ) increases, fatigue life increases. Furthermore, optimization of the joint is carried-out towards thermo-mechanical reliability improvement. Analysis of results shows the design with optimal parameter setting to be: TIMC -2.5μm, TSJ -20μm and WSJ -1000μm. In addition, the optimized model has 16,264 cycles to failure which is 18.82% more than the expected 13,688 cycles to failure of a PV module designed to last for 25 years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Photovoltaic modules ; crystalline silicon ; solar cells ; solder interconnection ; intermetallic compound thickness ; solder joint thickness ; solder joint width ; strain energy density ; finite element modelling and simulation ; fatigue life prediction