Photovoltaic (PV) module testing protocol for quality assurance programs
This Standard outlines a PV module testing protocol for quality assurance programs. It is intended to be used by financial institution and insurers, developers, independent engineers, and manufacturers. It provides best practices for photovoltaic module testing protocol for quality assurance programs.
This Standard is intended to be a stand-alone document that does not interact with other safety or qualification standards such as the UL 1703, IEC 61730, and IEC 61215. It is possible that some testing in this Standard might duplicate testing in the UL 1703, IEC 61730, and IEC 61215 safety and qualification standards. However, market practices as they currently exist might require independent quality assurance and reliability testing and due diligence by parties not associated with the safety and qualification testing.
The individual test legs in the protocol of this Standard are derived from existing tests in safety, qualification, and reliability testing described in IEC documents and NREL Photovoltaic Module Qualification Plus Testing, and might be updated over time as new test legs and protocols are validated and published. The test legs in this Standard are designed to reproduce failures that have been observed in the field or potentially could be seen in the field. Test leg durations have been carefully considered to avoid accumulated exposures greater than those that might be reasonably expected in actual deployment scenarios. This Standard is intended to be used across PV module technology types.
This Standard may be potentially used for the
evaluation of comparative reliability among different module manufacturers or designs;
evaluation of comparative reliability among different module bills of materials (BOMs);
diagnosis of potential problems with new module manufacturing equipment or facilities through comparison with equipment and facilities that are known to be good; and
provision of data for ongoing quality monitoring programs after product validation.
Although the test protocol laid out in this Standard has been designed to reproduce failures that have been seen in the field or potentially could be seen in the field, the test protocol is not intended for a service lifetime prediction study. At the time of publication of this Standard, there is no consensus in the PV community on how the results of the specific IEC tests or test sequences, which the protocol in this Standard uses as building blocks, relate quantitatively to the acceleration factors of different field failure modes. As such, efforts to derive field degradation rates from the lab test results might lead to incorrect conclusions.
In this Standard, “should” is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required and “may” is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the Standard. This Standard does not contain requirements.