PVEL Reliability Scorecard Touts Techincal Advances, Reduced Cost of PV Modules

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), an independent test lab for the downstream solar and energy storage industry, has published its 2021 PV Module Reliability Scorecard which names 117 model types of PV modules from 26 manufacturers as Top Performers in PVEL’s testing.

The report applauds the widespread adoption of technical advances that increase PV module power output and reduce the cost of solar power. Yet reliability problems may compromise these performance gains in the field: one in three participating manufacturers failed to implement basic quality controls that protect end users from safety failures.

“An unprecedented expansion of PV module manufacturing capacity is underway,” says Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PVEL. “New factories and production lines are vital as demand for solar power soars, but buyers must be vigilant to avoid the risks inherent to rapid growth. The preventable safety failures observed in this year’s scorecard underscore the complex challenges that manufacturers face as they race to meet demand in a highly dynamic global market.”

Now in its 7th Edition, the scorecard provides actionable insights for PV module procurement based on data from PVEL’s lab and field testing and research. It summarizes results from the PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP), a comprehensive testing regime established by PVEL in 2012 to provide empirical data for PV module supplier benchmarking and project-level energy yield and financial models.

Notable findings in the 2021 scorecard include:

  • Twenty-six percent of the bills of material (BOMs) eligible for this year’s sorecard had at least one failure as compared to 20% in 2020.
  • One in three manufacturers tested experienced safety failures due to junction box defects versus one in five in 2020. The majority of these failures were observed prior to testing.
  • Five manufacturers received their first Top Performer listings in this year’s scorecard.
  • The report includes two new Top Performer categories that showcase modules with superior results in PVEL’s mechanical stress sequence and minimal susceptibility to light-induced degradation and light- and elevated- temperature induced degradation.
  • The greatest number of failures occurred during the mechanical stress sequence, a test PVEL recently added to the PQP to address durability concerns, especially for extreme weather.

Participation in PVEL’s PQP and scorecard is voluntary for manufacturers and only top-performing module model types are named. To date, PVEL has tested over 450 BOMs from more than 50 manufacturers for the PV Module PQP.

The 2021 PV Module Reliability Scorecard is available in both an interactive digital format and as a free download, here.

Photo: PVEL’s About web page

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