09 May 2012
PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), an independent solar module test lab in California (US), has launched a new certification program that gives solar module manufacturers and project developers a deeper understanding of how products hold up against degradation from system voltages, a common cause of reduced performance and module failure.
PVEL developed potential-induced degradation (PID) certification in its ongoing effort to raise standards for solar PV quality and reliability industry-wide. Canadian Solar became the first company to pass the stringent certification process.
"This rigorous program demonstrates resiliency amidst what we now know is a common field condition affecting a system's energy yield," said Jenya Meydbray, co-founder and CEO of PVEL. "Companies concerned about the level of product quality in the market are increasingly engaging in third-party evaluations that not only go beyond most in-house testing capabilities but also exceed International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) requirements to ensure effective operation of PV modules."
PVEL's PID certification simulates the voltage-related stresses that an installed module endures by subjecting modules to 600 hours of damp heat conditioning under maximum system voltage levels. By evaluating both positive and negative grounding configurations, manufacturers and power plant owners can gain confidence that the modules are being deployed in appropriate system configurations. Periodic retesting is required to maintain the PVEL PID certification to ensure that evolution in the raw material supply or manufacturing does not impact module stability.