PV Module Reliability Scorecard Report 2016

DNV GL (formerly PV Evolution Labs), a global firm that delivers world-renowned testing, certification and advisory services to the entire energy value chain, is proud to present the 2016 PV Module Reliability Scorecard which provides unparalleled technical comparisons of PV module reliability. With 13 global solar offices and services ranging from equipment testing to project level engineering support DNV GL is uniquely capable of analyzing data across PV equipment manufacturers worldwide.

In the spring of 1997, Siemens Solar Industries announced the extension of its module warranty expanding it from 10 years to 25 years. This announcement marked the beginning of an industry standard, setting the 25-year warranty as a basic requirement for project investors trying to understand the full life economic viability of solar projects.

Yet even today, the risks associated with module performance over long periods of time remain unclear. Publicly available high quality field data on operating PV systems is limited. Additionally, field data takes many years to garner; by the time the testing has completed the technology has evolved. 85% of the 234 GW of installed global PV capacity has been in the field for less than five years. It will be more than twenty years from now before actual lifetime field data for the majority of today’s capacity can be gathered.

With full-life field data more than twenty years away and without access to publicly available data comparing long-term module reliability by vendor, how can buyers and investors factor quality into their procurement discussions?

Over the past few years independent lab data has established a critical role in evaluating PV module quality and long term reliability. PV Evolution Labs (now DNV GL), founded in 2010, was the first lab to offer PV equipment testing services focused at the downstream market (banks, developers, IPPs, etc.). The PVEL-GTM PV Module Reliability Scorecard aims to address the lack of publicly available long-term PV module data. The evaluation includes environmental testing that goes beyond traditional module certification testing. With its supplier-specific performance analysis, the Scorecard can help investors and developers generate quality-backed procurement strategies to ensure long-term project viability.