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Photovoltaic Test and Manufacturing

"Using NI CompactRIO, LabVIEW FPGA, and an NI PCI-6122 S Series multifunction DAQ board, we performed these tests with greater accuracy and significantly increased our throughput."

- - Alberto Cortes - Siliken Renewable Energy

Photovoltaic (PV) cell testing is an important part of PV semiconductor design and fabrication, and includes a variety of tests that help ensure the quality and efficiency of the product. Continuous or pulsed I-V testing is used to determine electrical performance parameters such as the short-circuit current, open-circuit voltage, operating power, and efficiency. Solar cell I-V characterization is vital for researchers and is also used during PV manufacturing to sort the PV cells for assembly into modules and arrays. Tests are also conducted to validate the presence of any opens and shorts to detect manufacturing defects that may contribute to decreased energy conversion efficiency.


National Instruments has a complete hardware and software platform to help you perform photovoltaic cell testing. This website provides numerous resources to help you get started with your photovoltaic test application. For example, you can download a free LabVIEW I-V characterization analysis toolset that can be used with third-party GPIB instruments or the NI PXI-4130 power source measurement unit (SMU). Also explore a number of tutorials, reference designs and additional LabVIEW programming examples.

Photovoltaic Solar Cell I-V Characterization Bundle

This bundle contains the software and hardware components required for photovoltaic solar cell characterization. With this system, you can perform forward-bias (illuminated) on photovoltaic cells up to 2A and 20V (add more SMUs to get three times the voltage or current) or reverse-bias (dark) tests.

  • Continuous DC I-V characterization
  • Sourcing and sinking capabilities for forward-bias and revers-bias tests
  • Free downloadable forward-bias I-V analysis code

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Pulsed I-V Test System for Photovoltaic Solar Cells

In a pulsed system, an external load is needed to direct the current/voltage sweep, and NI products are used to measure the pulsed current and voltage emitted from the solar cell during this process.

  • Flexibility to choose hardware that matches system requirements
  • Ideal for systems with high channel count, or where heat generation is a concern
  • Free downloadable forward-bias I-V analysis code

Build Your System

Locate an NI Alliance Partner

NI solutions partners are companies involved in the delivery of our products as solutions, or companies providing complementary software and hardware products.

Search the Alliance Partner Directory

Benefits of Using NI

  • Cost-effective, customizable test solutions
  • Seamless hardware and software integration
  • Easy integration with third-party instrumentation
  • One platform for performing multiple tests
  • Test systems can be used for a range of PV cell types and sizes


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