Photovoltaic Quality & Safety Testing: DOE Presentation Reveals 13 Years of Successes & Failures

Figures from 13 years of solar technology testing - including the top three quality failures and strongest influences of new manufacturers on module design - show some photovoltaic (PV) modules required a tune-up to pass international qualification standards.

TEMPE, AZ and NEWTOWN, CT/February 17, 2010 — Figures from 13 years of solar technology testing - including the top three quality failures and strongest influences of new manufacturers on module design - show some photovoltaic (PV) modules required a tune-up to pass international qualification standards.


Dr. Govindasamy Tamizhmani, president of TÜV Rheinland PTL, LLC, North America's largest solar photovoltaic testing center, will discuss the results of qualification tests on 3,700 photovoltaic modules at this week's Department of Energy "PV Module Reliability Workshop" in Golden, Colo. Dr. Tamizhmani will present his paper, "Experience with Qualification and Safety Testing of Photovoltaic Modules," on Friday, Feb. 19 at 8:50 a.m. at the Denver West Marriott.

TÜV Rheinland PTL identified the failure rates of PV modules during qualification tests for IEC 61215 (crystalline silicon) and IEC 6146 (thin-film) - both international certifications for solar technology quality. Results from the intensive analysis showed that new manufacturers influenced the overall quality of PV module design and inspired evolutionary leaps in the technology design.

Dr. Tamizhmani will also share the top three stress failures of crystalline silicon and thin-film technologies during 1997-2005, 2005-2007 and 2007-2009. As well, he will discuss the distribution of type of post-stress failures (visual, safety and performance) for the past two years.

The "manufacturer-blind" publication includes data from TÜV Rheinland PTL clients representing nearly 20 different countries - 88 percent of which are crystalline silicon manufacturers with the remainder focused on thin-film PV.

Today, the U.S. marketplace does not require solar panels or photovoltaic modules to undergo independent testing for durability, quality or reliability claims. Yet, other parts of the world, especially Europe and Asia, require scrutiny through an independent third-party testing provider. TÜV Rheinland PTL is an independent third-party qualification testing provider with the shortest turn-around time of 60-72 days, depending on the technology. The Tempe, Ariz.-based member of the TUV Rheinland Group is part of a global network of photovoltaic test laboratories, which also include Cologne, Germany; Shanghai, Hong Kong; Yokohama, Japan; and Daya, Taiwan.

The two-day Department of Energy workshop will take place from Feb. 18-19 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

For more information about TÜV Rheinland PTL or its services, call 1-TUV-RHEINLAND (888-743-4652) or visit www.tuvptl.com.

About TÜVRheinland PTL, LLC®

TÜVRheinland Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory ® is a proud part of the TUV Rheinland family of companies. The company delivers premier independent certification, testing, and assessment services for the solar energy industry sectors including photovoltaic, solar thermal, and power management. For more information, visit www.tuvptl.com.

About TÜVRheinland®

TÜVRheinland® is the worldwide leader in market access, helping businesses gain international approvals in more than 200 countries. The company delivers premier independent certification, testing, and assessment services for many industry sectors. With in-country experts across six continents, TÜVRheinland eases the path to compliance with technical expertise, cost-effective pricing and quick turnaround times. The $1.5 billion corporation is comprised of an international network of more than 13,300 employees in 61 countries. For more information, visit www.us.TUV.com.

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