Category: Solar Energy (Photovoltaics)
What are the best PV modules and who are the most trusted manufacturing partners? This question is as relevant as ever, as the Solar PV industry continues to pursue advances in technology, and as many different manufacturers offer competing products, while customers and financial services companies work to discern which products are the most reliable, highest performing and best quality. Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) has spent nearly a decade providing third-party testing of thousands of different solar modules for certification, accelerated reliability characterization and detailed performance analysis. Now, RETC is releasing its first annual “PV Module Index,” a report that uses the company’s database of results from PV module testing to identify the highest-ranking PV modules and their manufacturers, from among 19 of the highest-achieving manufacturers and their modules that RETC tests. The report is the PV industry’s first annual ranking that evaluates module Reliability and Performance, and Quality practices of the manufacturers. RETC’s presentation will summarize the PV Module Index, which shows the results of module tests including: ● Reliability tests: Damp Heat Performance, Potential Induced Degradation, Thermal Cycling. ● Performance tests: Module Efficiency, Light Induced Degradation, Performance at Elevated (real-world) test conditions, off-angle lighting conditions ● Quality evaluations: Breadth and Frequency of testing (Product Qualification Program, Thresher Testing methodologies), Randomized Sampling, Factory Audits, Bill of Material Change Control, implementation of a consistent regiment of testing over multiple samples to assure all modules rolling off manufacturing line conform to specifications Value to the PV Industry: ● Previously undisclosed information about important criteria and testing regimens that show which PV modules are the best and why ● Information for manufacturers about what tests they should obtain for their modules and how positive test results show the quality of a product ● Information for project developers, EPCs, financial institutions and independent engineers about how to obtain a holistic view of a module’s depth of performance and reliability ● Data sharing on new technologies, such as bifacial and PERC, more recent entrants to manufacturing, and the differences between laboratory testing and real-world field performance and reliability testing RETC is an independent third-party laboratory specializing in PV product certification, accelerated reliability testing, bankability profiling, advanced engineering design concepts, and module & system design testing. The company is based in Fremont, Calif., and operates test facilities in Nevada, the Philippines, and Chile. Customers include module manufacturers and project developers, EPCs, financial services companies, and independent engineering firms.
Chris Beitel– Head of Business Development, Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC)