During the last few decades, and in some cases only the last few years, novel thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologies such as dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), organic solar cells (OPV), and, more recently, perovskite-based solar cells (PSC) have been growing in maturity with respect to device performance and device stability. Together with new material systems, novel device architectures have also been introduced. Both parameters will have an effect on the overall device stability. In order to improve the understanding of degradation effects and how they can be prevented, stress testing under different conditions is commonly applied. By careful combination of stress factors and thorough analysis of photovoltaic parameter decaying curves, an understanding of the underlying degradation pathways can be gained. With the help of standardized and accelerated stress tests, as described in the ISOS-protocols, statements concerning application lifetimes can finally be made and compared among different labs. Once a photovoltaic technology has proven long lasting durability, the ultimate barrier for entering the commercial market are the IEC tests, taking a deeper look on overall safety and reliability, not only on durability. Here, the most prominent stress tests are reviewed, discussed and extended with respect to learning the most about photovoltaic device stability. Common procedures and practices for evaluating thin-film solar cell stability and durability are reviewed with respect to their applicability for predicting failure routes and application lifetimes. Suggestions for the reporting of detailed stress factors, photovoltaic parameters with sufficient statistical weight, and new figures of merit are made with the goal of steepening the learning curve towards real applications.