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Standards Development for Photovoltaic Reliability

NREL is supporting the development of comprehensive standards for PV reliability using a three-pronged strategy focused on:

  • Establishing qualification methods for durability of PV module design with a chosen climate and mounting system
  • Developing a guide for auditing quality management systems toward consistent manufacturing of PV modules built to that design
  • Ensuring adequacy of design, installation, and operation through a certification process for system verification.

As a near-term aid in improving PV reliability, NREL has developed the Qualification Plus Testing method.

Laboratory personnel participate in writing and discussing reliability, safety, and test and evaluation (T&E) standards, primarily with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) technical committee 82, working groups 2, 3, and 7, but also with a number of other standards organizations including the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Underwriters Laboratories, and TUV Rheinland. This work is done in partnership with Solar ABCs. NREL researchers work through the International Photovoltaic (PV) Quality Assurance (QA) Task Force to effectively leverage the knowledge of the broader PV community toward development of comprehensive PV standards.

Each year, NREL researchers, along with solar companies and other national lab researchers, participate in an industry workshop on PV reliability, conducted to encourage exchange of information about PV reliability. The 2015 Photovoltaic Module Reliability Workshop (PVMRW) was held February 24–27 in Golden, Colorado. Proceedings of past workshops are available.