DNV GL Charts The Most Reliable PV Modules


DNV GL has released its third annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard report, which analyzes and compares reliability test results of more than 50 commercially available PV module models.

The global energy advisory and certification company says the Scorecard serves as a tool for financiers, developers and independent power producers to inform prudent decisions about PV modules. The Scorecard is an integral part of DNV GL’s voluntary Product Qualification Program (PQP), and the company says the report includes most of the leading manufacturers active in the market today.

“While a 25-year performance warranty is standard in the industry, most PV module models, with a specific Bill of Materials, have actually been in use for less than a few years, so there is a limited amount of data on how equipment holds up over time,” explains DNV GL’s Jenya Meydbray, lead author of the study. “Though there is no truer test of a module’s reliability and long-term performance than decades of real-world field experience, since 2012, the DNV GL Product Qualification Program and the PV Module Reliability Scorecard’s findings have become a critical resource to an industry looking to better understand risk in a commercially reasonable timeframe.”

DNV GL says modules included in the tests were produced in 10 different countries, reflecting the global deployment of manufacturing. The study covers five major reliability tests: thermal cycling, dynamic mechanical load, damp heat, humidity freeze and PID (potential induced degradation). Top findings in the 2017 Scorecard include the following:

  • Most modules tested maintain performance after reliability testing. However, the bottom quartile of most tests exhibit degradation levels that could put systems at financial risk.
  • Specific Bill of Materials (BOMs), factories, and manufacturer do matter: The same module type with different BOMs or manufacturing location often perform quite differently.
  • The size of the manufacturer is not a good indicator of performance in reliability testing. The same manufacturer may produce modules with a large spread in performance in reliability testing.
  • The number of participants in the DNV GL PQP and, thus, in the Scorecard has been steadily growing. In this edition of the Scorecard, the number of manufacturer participants jumped by 69% compared to last year.

“Our Product Qualification Program and Scorecard help create clarity for players in the solar market,” says Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL – Energy. “Testing helps manufacturers deliver better-quality modules and supports financiers and developers in taking informed component purchasing decisions. We are committed to support the growth of the solar industry and to contribute to a global sustainable energy future.”

Because this is the third installment of the PV Module Reliability Scorecard, DNV GL says it can now additionally identify which manufacturers have maintained top performance positions consistently and which are the most improved since 2014.

The 2017 PV Module Reliability Scorecard is available for free download here.

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