TÜV Rheinland, a globally recognized independent testing, inspection, and certification company, announced that Prism Solar Technologies is the first photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer to be certified to the Qualification Plus standard by TÜV Rheinland PTL. Prism Solar produces bifacial solar modules designed to absorb reflected (albedo) light in order to produce more kilowatt hours than a standard, one-sided polycrystalline PV module.
IEC 61215 and IEC 61730 are the current design qualification standards for PV modules. However, because technologies are constantly improving and because updating standards traditionally lags far behind the pace of innovation, Qualification Plus (Q+) testing has been developed to go above and beyond current standards. 10 years or more of data on PV modules hewing to the prior ‘block’ standards show that successively improved standards lead to greatly decreased failure rates in next-generation modules. Qualification Plus standards stress-test PV modules well beyond current requirements, to mimic or surpass natural conditions those products would be exposed to in the field. By addressing failures being seen in the field today, as well as aligning with contemplated (i.e., possible upcoming) test standards, Qualification Plus certification can help to re-assure operators and investors that approved modules will be in compliance for years, if not decades, to come.
Prism Solar submitted modules to be tested in a variety of conditions at TÜV Rheinland PTL in Tempe, Arizona. All the modules went through visual inspection and performance tests as well insulation and ‘wet leakage’ tests before being divided into separate groups to go through accelerated environmental conditioning. Once grouped, some modules were subjected to thermal cycling tests—500 cycles under Q+ testing, as compared to only 200 under IEC 61215—others went through a battery of tests, including load tests and humidity/freeze cycles, while still others were inspected for ‘hot spots’ which can occur when one cell in a series is shaded and the power output of the unshaded cells overwhelms the shaded cell. After the various groups went through their disparate tests, all were subjected to a final series of stabilization and performance tests.
After hundreds of hours, Prism Solar modules passed the Q+ testing; their products may now carry the Qualification Plus TUVR mark, indicating compliance and certification to the latest in industry-accepted standards.
Prism Solar Technologies was founded in 2005 to improve solar system designs and optimize the energy harvesting properties of new solar installations. The company is a specialist in both the fabrication and performance of bifacial solar modules and systems, using glass-on-glass module design for improved structural overhead applications. The company has pioneered bifacial modeling techniques used for the optimization and design of Commercial White Roof installations. The Prism Solar Energy Roof System has been recognized by the US Internal Revenue Service as a design that leads to additional kWh’s of energy harvested by utilizing the white roof as part of the energy property in Commercial installations. The company operates a Manufacturing operation in Highland, New York, and a Research, Development & Engineering facility located in Tucson, Arizona (US).