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Title: Moving Toward Quantifying Reliability - The Next Step in a Rapidly Maturing PV Industry

Some may say that PV modules are moving toward being a simple commodity, but most major PV customers ask: 'How can I minimize chances of a module recall?' Or, 'How can I quantify the added value of a 'premium' module?' Or, 'How can I assess the value of an old PV system that I'm thinking of purchasing?' These are all questions that PVQAT (the International PV Quality Assurance Task Force) and partner organizations are working to answer. Defining standard methods for ensuring minimal acceptable quality of PV modules, differentiating modules that provide added value in the toughest of environments, and creating a process (e.g. through IECRE [1]) that can follow a PV system from design through installation and operation are tough tasks, but having standard approaches for these will increase confidence, reduce costs, and be a critical foundation of a mature PV industry. This paper summarizes current needs for new tests, some challenges for defining those tests, and some of the key efforts toward development of international standards, emphasizing that meaningful quantification of reliability (as in defining a service life prediction) must be done in the context of a specific product with design parameters defined through a quality management system.
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Conference: Presented at the 2015 IEEE 42nd Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC), 14-19 June 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana; Related Information: Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE 42nd Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC), 14-19 June 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana
Piscataway, NJ: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; photovoltaic module; reliability; service life prediction; PV system performance