Introducing the latest updates to PVEL’s PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP)

For more than a decade, PVEL has served as the solar industry’s leading independent test lab for photovoltaic (PV) modules. As the industry has grown and changed over the years, we’ve regularly updated our Product Qualification Program (PQP) to accommodate new module technologies, designs, and sizes to generate data that matters for solar buyers. The results of this testing are presented in our annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard, a procurement resource accessed by thousands of PV buyers around the world.

In pursuit of a strong solar future, and with our downstream partners’ project performance
concerns in mind, our latest PQP has been upgraded to better assess the long-term
performance potential of the latest PV module designs. Here are the highlights from our latest PQP:

  • We’ve added a new test to address concerns around UV-induced degradation (UVID).
  • We’ve updated our Hail Stress Sequence (HSS) and Mechanical Stress Sequence (MSS) to better quantify module mechanical durability.
  • We’ve streamlined our Light-Induced Degradation (LID), Damp Heat (DH), Light- and
    Elevated Temperature-Induced Degradation (LETID), and Backsheet Durability Sequence (BDS) testing, and simplified some characterizations to improve our test operations and accelerate project timelines without impacting data integrity.

Since January 2022, we have had over 50 global module manufacturers submit their modules for PVEL PQP testing. Through our testing, these module manufacturers are providing critical data to their customers and we’re proud that our work guides the global buying community to make more informed procurement decisions.

Test sequences in our PV Module PQP

Our PQP was designed to evolve with the needs of the PV module buyer community. Every two years, we update the PQP using feedback from leading global research institutes, independent engineers, developers, and manufacturers.  Therefore, the PQP isn’t a static suite of tests (like some industry standards that take years to update), but rather a dynamic program built in response to technology advancements, industry developments, and analysis of module performance in the field.  

Our assessment starts before PV modules even reach our labs. For each PQP, we deploy PI Berlin, our sister company and fellow member of the Kiwa Group, to perform a PQP sample production factory witness. Our team monitors the sample production process from opening raw materials packages all the way through the production line to wrapping the completed pallets of PQP samples in tamper-proof tape. During this process they collect over 100 bill of materials (BOM) details. For our latest PQP update, we’re going beyond this list of BOM details to gather even more information at the factory, including obtaining detailed data sheets for all PV module components.   

As seen in the chart below, other PQP changes include the addition of a UVID test, streamlined DH, LETID and BDS testing, and hail testing more focused on determining the threshold of glass breakage. 

Our new PV Module PQP in one chart

PQP Module Flow Test Chart - Watermark V2.png

Explore updates to our PQP by expanding the sections below.