DNV GL has released the 2016 PV Module Reliability Scorecard, its second edition of a rigorous review of solar PV module performance. The company says its study aims to address the lack of publicly available long-term data on reliability.
“While a 25-year performance warranty is standard in the industry, most PV modules have actually been in use less than five years, so there is a real lack of data on how equipment holds up over time,” explains DNV GL’s Jenya Meydbray, the study’s lead author. “Since the first edition of the Scorecard in 2014, its findings have become a critical resource to an industry looking to understand risk.”
DNV GL says the scorecard is intended to serve as a tool to compare module expected reliability and long-term performance qualitatively, and the rankings provide a resource for banks, developers and independent power providers with findings to inform prudent investment in PV modules.
The 2016 Scorecard evaluated 19 manufacturers, including more than 50% of the world’s 10 largest makers of PV modules. All participants in the study are commercially available products that have already demonstrated compliance with required safety standards. DNV GL tested five major factors affecting deterioration and reliability over time: thermal cycling, dynamic mechanical load, damp heat, humidity freeze and PID (potential induced degradation).
Key findings of the new report include the following:
- Many module vendors performed well across all tests. For example, while the IEC pass/fail criteria allows for 5% degradation after 200 thermal cycles, eight tested manufacturers surpassed this pass/fail criteria, showing only 3% degradation after four times the IEC duration (800 thermal cycles).
- Two manufacturers performed in the top group on every test: Kyocera and Phono Solar.
- Approximately 55% to 60% of top group modules were manufactured in China. This is roughly equivalent to the ratio of Chinese module participation in the full PV Module Reliability Scorecard. DNV GL says this demonstrates that manufacturing location is not a good proxy for reliability.
The full 2016 PV Module Reliability Scorecard can be downloaded here.