Clean Power

Published on February 13th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


NREL Releases New International Solar PV Manufacturing Quality Standard

February 13th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon

New International Solar PV Manufacturing Quality Standard Created, With Help Of NREL

A new international quality standard for manufacturing solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has been created following on 5 years of work by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and elsewhere, according to a recent press release.

The new standard is intended to supplement the existing one (ISO-9001), and will be used to“increase the level of confidence investors, utilities, and consumers have in solar panel safety and reliability” — which is expected to, in turn, help reduce the cost of financing for solar energy projects.

The standard was developed jointly with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International PV Quality Assurance Task Force (PVQAT), and is now accessible online for a fee (“Terrestrial Photovoltaic (PV) Modules — Guidelines for increased confidence in PV module design qualification and type approval“).

The new quality standard details how PV manufacturers need to:

* Consider potential failure modes and take steps to address those in the design, production, application, and delivery process.
* Obtain IEC certification and implement an ongoing reliability test program that monitors the performance of PV modules.
* Improve product traceability through the entire supply chain in the case of recalls or warranty claims.

In addition, pass-fail requirements, a checklist, and guidance on how exactly factory audits are to be completed have been created — and are currently in the process of being put into place (IEC 62941).

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  • JamesWimberley

    PV panels are already extraordinarily reliable and durable. Inverters could do with more work.

    • Riely Rumfort

      Well maybe some day this could make for a warranty extention. A 40 year warranty for example would drop the price per watt quite a bit.
      I have my doubts on this occuring, but tighter regulations can grant more reliability.

      • newnodm

        It may not even be worth building inverters for a twenty year life. Too much changes. Cheap and good is probably the most economic.

        Power electronics used everyday probably should have a thorough inspection/repair/modification after ten years. Especially since the trend looks like increased electrification. What are the chances that a system sized for today without batteries will still be the right design after a decade?

        • Riely Rumfort

          I like the idea of buying a system, and not worrying about it for 20 years. Set it and forget it, and as the interior products become more efficient the system slowly loses it’s capacity.
          The Erase/Replace societal model is becoming terminal, future tech aside I’d prefer sustainable/stable.

    • Jamset

      “high temperatures and humidity, which tend to rot the adhesives that hold together conventional solar panels.”

      Massive article in MIT Tech Review.

    • Ronald Brakels

      It’s still common for panels to only carry a 5 year warranty. I’d like to see 10 become the minimum.

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