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PV Module Buyers, Asset Owners, & Investors
Researching top-performing PV modules is only one aspect of risk mitigation for solar PV assets. PVEL supports downstream project stakeholders at every step of project development, construction, and operation.
Below are PVEL’s recommended best practices.
Procure Top-Performing Bills of Materials
Each Top Performer listed in the Scorecard represents a unique bill of materials (BOM). PVEL supports its network of downstream partners with BOM information for the products we test. Our partners use this data to specify BOMs in PV module supply agreements.
Audit and Monitor Factories
Downstream project stakeholders should require factory audits, or independent inspections of a manufacturer’s production lines, before PV module procurement to ensure suppliers meet quality standards. Monitoring PV module production during the manufacturing process also helps prevent quality issues in the modules produced for a specific project.
Testing statistically significant samples of PV modules during module production helps buyers identify and remedy quality issues in the modules being deployed to their sites. This process, known as batch testing, requires shipping a randomly selected subset of PV modules from the factory to PVEL for assessment.
Test PV modules upon delivery to the project site and prior to system commissioning to ensure that damage has not occurred during transportation or installation. PVEL provides on-site testing for utility-scale solar projects. When performance or reliability issues arise in the field, PVEL’s mobile response team is available to diagnose problems and provide guidance for remediation.
Insights from PVEL's Partner: PI Berlin
A PV module is only as good as the materials used to manufacture it. However, an important reality within the industry is that a single type of module may be manufactured from many different materials provided by many different suppliers. This can result in hundreds of material permutations within a single module type, each one potentially performing differently.
Buying a single type of module in reality often means buying many different modules at the same time.
To assure module quality, all the materials should be thoroughly tested and vetted, including the permutations in which they will be used. To manage this, it is vital that module supply agreements explicitly define the permissible “bills of materials” (BOMs) used to manufacture the modules, describe the independent testing to verify BOM quality and enable third parties to verify that the tested BOMs are actually used to manufacture the modules.
This “contractual chain of custody” over module BOMs is the only way to independently assure long-term module quality. This type of contractual support is a major part of PI Berlin’s services for downstream buyers in the solar industry – both in providing contractual language as well as helping to negotiate appropriate terms with manufacturers.
Contributed by: Ian Gregory, Managing Director, North America, PI Berlin
PVEL’s Product Qualification Program and Scorecards help manufacturers reach new buyers and demonstrate the quality of their products. Ready for your company’s PV modules to appear in PVEL’s next Scorecard? Sign up for testing.
“Independent testing with PVEL has fueled VSUN’s international expansion efforts. PVEL’s unique Product Qualification Program not only helps us reach new buyers, but also accelerates sales by validating the performance and reliability of our PV modules.”Lewis Cai, CEO of VSUN