ASTM E1125 - 10

    Standard Test Method for Calibration of Primary Non-Concentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells Using a Tabular Spectrum

    Active Standard ASTM E1125 | Developed by Subcommittee: E44.09

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    ASTM E1125

    Significance and Use

    The electrical output of a photovoltaic device is dependent on the spectral content of the illumination source, its intensity, and the device temperature. To make standardized, accurate measurements of the performance of photovoltaic devices under a variety of light sources, it is necessary to account for the error in the short-circuit current that occurs if the relative spectral response of the reference cell is not identical to the spectral response of the device to be tested. A similar error occurs if the spectral irradiance distribution of the test light source is not identical to the desired reference spectral irradiance distribution. These errors are accounted for by the spectral mismatch parameter (described in Test Method E973), a quantitative measure of the error in the short-circuit current measurement. It is the intent of this test method to provide a recognized procedure for calibrating, characterizing, and reporting the calibration data for primary photovoltaic reference cells using a tabular reference spectrum.

    The calibration of a reference cell is specific to a particular spectral irradiance distribution. It is the responsibility of the user to specify the applicable irradiance distribution, for example Tables G173. This test method allows calibration with respect to any tabular spectrum.

    A reference cell should be recalibrated at yearly intervals, or every six months if the cell is in continuous use outdoors.

    Recommended physical characteristics of reference cells can be found in Specification E1040.

    Because silicon solar cells made on p-type substrates are susceptible to a loss of Isc upon initial exposure to light, it is required that newly manufactured reference cells be light soaked at an irradiance level greater than 850 W/m2 for 2 h prior to initial characterization in Section 7.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method is intended to be used for calibration and characterization of primary terrestrial photovoltaic reference cells to a desired reference spectral irradiance distribution, such as Tables G173. The recommended physical requirements for these reference cells are described in Specification E1040. Reference cells are principally used in the determination of the electrical performance of photovoltaic devices.

    1.2 Primary photovoltaic reference cells are calibrated in natural sunlight using the relative spectral response of the cell, the relative spectral distribution of the sunlight, and a tabulated reference spectral irradiance distribution.

    1.3 This test method requires the use of a pyrheliometer that is calibrated according to Test Method E816, which requires the use of a pyrheliometer that is traceable to the World Radiometric Reference (WRR). Therefore, reference cells calibrated according to this test method are traceable to the WRR.

    1.4 This test method is a technique that may be used instead of the procedures found in Test Method E1362. This test method offers convenience in its ability to characterize a reference cell under any spectrum for which tabulated data are available. The selection of the specific reference spectrum is left to the user.

    1.5 This test method applies only to the calibration of a photovoltaic cell that shows a linear dependence of its short-circuit current on irradiance over its intended range of use, as defined in Test Method E1143.

    1.6 This test method applies only to the calibration of a reference cell fabricated with a single photovoltaic junction.

    1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E772 Terminology of Solar Energy Conversion

    E816 Test Method for Calibration of Pyrheliometers by Comparison to Reference Pyrheliometers

    E948 Test Method for Electrical Performance of Photovoltaic Cells Using Reference Cells Under Simulated Sunlight

    E973 Test Method for Determination of the Spectral Mismatch Parameter Between a Photovoltaic Device and a Photovoltaic Reference Cell

    E1021 Test Method for Spectral Responsivity Measurements of Photovoltaic Devices

    E1040 Specification for Physical Characteristics of Nonconcentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells

    E1328 Terminology Relating to Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion

    E1362 Test Method for Calibration of Non-Concentrator Photovoltaic Secondary Reference Cells

    G173 Tables for Reference Solar Spectral Irradiances: Direct Normal and Hemispherical on 37 Tilted Surface


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 27.160 (Solar energy engineering)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 32111701(Photovoltaic cells)


    DOI: 10.1520/E1125-10

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