PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), the leading independent test lab for the global downstream solar industry, published the 5th Edition of its PV Module Reliability Scorecard in partnership with DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent experts and certification body. As the most comprehensive publicly available comparison of PV module reliability test results, the Scorecard ranks PV modules and manufacturers using independent test data.
Despite improved performance in some areas, over 30% of the module Bills of Materials (BOMs) assessed for this year’s report failed one or more test criteria. The trend of poor damp heat performance observed in 2018 continues and is due in part to unexpectedly high degradation from select modules with PERC technology.
“The solar industry is deploying new technology with little to no long-term field data that proves its reliable performance,” commented Tara Doyle, Chief Commercial Officer of PVEL. “As our latest Scorecard demonstrates, independent testing is vital to mitigate the possible risks posed by promising yet novel designs and materials – in fact, it is the only source of objective reliability and performance data.”
The annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard summarizes the results of independent testing conducted as part of PVEL’s Product Qualification Program (PQP) and identifies the PV module models that achieved top performance.
Highlighted findings include:
• >30% of eligible Bills of Materials (BOMs) failed one or more test criteria
• 10% of BOMs had at least one safety failure
• Performance increases: Percentage of thermal cycling and potential-induced degradation Top Performers rose by 42% and 29% respectively versus historical results
• Performance decreases: Percentage of dynamic mechanical load sequence and damp heat
Top performers fell by 37% and 38% respectively versus historical results
The PQP is a unique protocol of tests that generate empirical performance and reliability data, contributing to critical technical due diligence, energy forecasts and financial models utilized by solar investors and project developers. Manufacturers voluntarily participate in the PQP, but only Top Performers are eligible for listing in the Scorecard. Manufacturers choose to be recognized in the Scorecard in order to demonstrate the quality of their products to the market.
Since PVEL launched its PV Module PQP in 2012, it has tested over 300 BOMs from more than 50 module manufacturers. More than 75% of the current Bloomberg NEF “Tier 1” manufacturers have participated in the Program. PQP participation is now a common requirement by downstream buyers around the world.
“According to Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), PV module prices have dropped by 25% in the last year alone,” commented Dana Olson, Solar Segment Leader of DNV GL. “Oversupply and regulatory uncertainty are intensifying the cost pressure PV manufacturers face. It is incumbent upon buyers to thoroughly vet the products they source or else face greater risk of economic underperformance down the road.”