Updating PVEL’s PV Module Product Qualification Program

By Tristan Erion-Lorico

October 15th, 2021

Bankability testing in the lab to minimize PV technology risk in the field

I’m excited to share the latest version of PVEL’s flagship test program for PV modules, the PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP). Since our program was first established in 2012, the needs of solar investors, project developers and asset owners have evolved significantly – and our testing must evolve in turn.

As technology advances, new data from the field becomes available and research is conducted, PVEL gathers feedback from the market that informs periodic updates of our PQPs. This process ensures that our testing continues to generate the data that matters for solar deployment around the world. Our latest updates include:

  • A brand-new hail test. The hail stress sequence was informed by PVEL’s assessments of hail-damaged projects in the field. It evaluates the ability of PV modules to withstand hail and assesses potential for long-term power loss.
  • Tracker-mounted mechanical stress testing. Our new, optional add-on protocol for the mechanical stress sequence utilizes a tracker mounting configuration to better inform procurement decisions for utility-scale projects.
  • Expanded PAN simulations in PQP reports. We are supplementing our PAN reports with simulations based upon manufacturer-provided technical specifications, which supports datasheet validation. We are also adding new simulations for tracker-mounted projects.
  • Streamlined test protocols for faster reporting. We updated our potential-induced degradation, mechanical stress and backsheet durability sequences to improve testing efficiencies without compromising data integrity. The new protocols allow PVEL to deliver critical test results more quickly.

Our new PV Module PQP in one chart

Our hail test is the most significant update in our new PQP

The PQP’s hail stress sequence helps buyers benchmark the hail resistance of different bills of materials (BOMs).

Our test design was informed by:

  • Nearly 1 GW of hail-damaged solar projects tested by PVEL in the field
  • Feedback from insurers, asset owners and O&M providers with hail concerns
  • PVEL’s developmental testing and research
Read our white paper to learn more

PVEL also offers supplemental hail testing outside of the PQP.

What our updated PQP means for the downstream solar market and PVEL's manufacturing clients

PVEL regularly releases updates to our PQPs, and our latest improvements are designed to address important concerns from our partners and manufacturing clients. Through every iteration of our PV Module PQP, the goals of our flagship test program have remained the same:

To provide solar project developers, investors, asset owners and other stakeholders with independent, consistent reliability and performance data that drives technical due diligence and strategic procurement.
To independently recognize manufacturers who outpace their competitors in product quality and durability.

With these goals in mind, every product submitted to our PQP begins with a factory witness. The bills of materials of all PQP test samples are identified and each step of the manufacturing process is documented – from the opening of raw materials process to wrapping the completed pallet in tamper-proof tape. We conduct our PQP tests in the same way, using consistently calibrated equipment and consistent testing environments. This process enables data-backed benchmarking and leveled comparisons of different products and manufacturers.

As always, the reports in our PV Module PQP are complimentary for companies that sign up as PVEL’s downstream partners and join our network. These reports replace assumptions about PV module performance and reliability with empirical data that can help PV module buyers select the optimal products for their projects.

We hope you’re as excited about our updated PQP as we are. 

Learn more about our Product Qualification Programs

Our PQPs connect the global downstream community with PV module, inverter and energy storage manufacturers through data for technical due diligence.

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