New Quality Standard for Photovoltaic Modules

April 21, 2015

Guidelines will ensure reliability of solar investments.

As photovoltaic solar system adoption continues to grow, concerns about the construction and performance of solar module manufacturing have prompted NREL to propose an international quality standard. The standard can be used immediately to verify high-quality construction and aims to improve consumer confidence in the renewable technology.

The report, which is expected to be finalized late in 2015, will outline aspects of the quality management system that should be used when producing photovoltaic modules on an industrial scale. The new rules will encourage manufacturers to align their modules’ expected lifetime with the provided warranty, improve traceability through the supply chain, and closely monitor and maintain calibration instruments to ensure uniformity of the PV module’s power rating.

Noting that worldwide investment in solar is over $100 billion per year, the NREL researchers hope that the new guidelines will further improve investment while maintaining a high level of produced quality. The standards are expected to deal with how to test PV modules for durability in different climate zones and mounting configurations, ensure consistent manufacturing on an industrial scale, and verify that produced systems are operating at optimal efficiency. 

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