ASTM E2236 - 10

    Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Electrical Performance and Spectral Response of Nonconcentrator Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells and Modules

    Active Standard ASTM E2236 | Developed by Subcommittee: E44.09

    Book of Standards Volume: 12.02


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    Significance and Use

    In a series-connected multijunction PV device, the incident total and spectral irradiance determines which component cell will generate the smallest photocurrent and thus limit the current through the entire series-connected device. This current-limiting behavior also affects the fill factor of the device. Because of this, special techniques are needed to measure the correct I-V characteristics of multijunction devices under the desired reporting conditions (see Test Methods E1036).

    These test methods use a numerical parameter called the current balance which is a measure of how well the test conditions replicate the desired reporting conditions. When the current balance deviates from unity by more than 0.03, the uncertainty of the measurement may be increased.

    The effects of current limiting in individual component cells can cause problems for I-V curve translations to different temperature and irradiance conditions, such as the translations recommended in Test Methods E1036. For example, if a different component cell becomes the limiting cell as the irradiance is varied, a discontinuity in the current versus irradiance characteristic may be observed. For this reason, it is recommended that I-V characteristics of multijunction devices be measured at temperature and irradiance conditions close to the desired reporting conditions.

    Some multijunction devices have more than two terminals which allow electrical connections to each component cell. In these cases, the special techniques for spectral response measurements are not needed because the component cells can be measured individually. However, these I-V techniques are still needed if the device is intended to be operated as a two-terminal device.

    Using these test methods, the spectral response is typically measured while the individual component cell under test is illuminated at levels that are less than Eo. Nonlinearity of the spectral response may cause the measured results to differ from the spectral response at the illumination levels of actual use conditions.

    1. Scope

    1.1 These test methods provide special techniques needed to determine the electrical performance and spectral response of two-terminal, multijunction photovoltaic (PV) devices, both cell and modules.

    1.2 These test methods are modifications and extensions of the procedures for single-junction devices defined by Test Methods E948, E1021, and E1036.

    1.3 These test methods do not include temperature and irradiance corrections for spectral response and current-voltage (I-V) measurements. Procedures for such corrections are available in Test Methods E948, E1021, and E1036.

    1.4 These test methods may be applied to cells and modules intended for concentrator applications.

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

    1.6 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

    E927 Specification for Solar Simulation for Photovoltaic Testing

    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

    E1036 Test Methods for Electrical Performance of Nonconcentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Modules and Arrays Using Reference Cells

    E1040 Specification for Physical Characteristics of Nonconcentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells

    E1125 Test Method for Calibration of Primary Non-Concentrator Terrestrial Photovoltaic Reference Cells Using a Tabular Spectrum

    E1328 Terminology Relating to Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion

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

    G138 Test Method for Calibration of a Spectroradiometer Using a Standard Source of Irradiance

    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/E2236-10

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