The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released an updated proposal for an international quality standard for photovoltaic module manufacturing.
The document is intended for use by PV manufacturers when producing modules on an industrial scale so they can increase investor, utility and consumer confidence in system performance. NREL hopes to supplement the existing International Standards Organization (ISO) ISO-9001 certification in the application of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 61215.
Sarah Kurtz, a research fellow at NREL and one of the authors of the technical report, says recent research on 50,000 PV systems has found that just 0.1% of all PV systems were affected by damaged or underperforming modules, and less than 1% experienced hardware problems each year.
‘Even so, with manufacturers feeling pressure to lower prices, it is essential that quality be maintained and assured,’ Kurtz says. ‘The new guidelines help to ensure that quality is not compromised for lower priced modules and make it easier for PV customers to assess the expected quality.’
To download NREL's technical report, click here.