PV Performance Measurements in Six Weeks or Less

Aug. 31, 2018 by Dean Levi

With more than 180 person-years of experience in device testing, NREL’s PV Cell and Module Performance Group (CMP Group) is the United States’ premier laboratory for measuring the performance of PV cells and modules. Precision, accuracy, and consistency are all important to our customers, but we often find that timeliness is particularly valued. A faster turnaround in testing allows teams to publish faster and meet production deadlines.

With this in mind, the CMP Group at NREL has reduced its turnaround time for PV cell and module testing to a maximum of six weeks. This has been achieved without sacrificing precision or accuracy, which are essential basic requirements to us. Our turnaround time runs from receipt of requested items [payment, samples, and quantum efficiency (QE) information for modules] at NREL until delivery of the measurement report to the requester.

Initiating and Executing a Measurement Request

Requirements for Initiating the Turnaround Process

  • Create an online account at https://pvdpc.nrel.gov/.
  • Submit a measurement request.
  • Make payment using credit card (faster) or purchase order (slower).
  • Ship cells or modules to appropriate address at NREL.
  • For modules receiving a QE measurement, please provide (1) a cell in a module package, (2) a module with an isolated/tabbed out cell, or (3) QE data on an identical module.

Performance Measurement Process

  • Sample is delivered to NREL (six-week clock starts after receipt of payment and samples, plus QE samples/data in the case of modules).
  • Sample is logged-in, which entails unpacking, inspection, verification of sample-related information.
  • QE and IV are measured.
  • Data is reviewed.
  • A measurement report is generated and reviewed.
  • Results are sent to requester (less than 6 weeks after sample delivery).

Registering for an Account

We have transitioned to a fee-based system to request a measurement service. Customers will need to create an account at https://pvdpc.nrel.gov/. After the information for an account has been submitted, it will be reviewed and approved in 24 hours or less.

Once the account is approved, measurement services can be requested and payment for the measurements can be made via credit card, PayPal or purchase order (note that purchase orders may take slightly longer to be processed before being approved and the six-week turnaround period starts).

Measurements Performed

The CMP Group at NREL uses state-of-the-art equipment to measure the performance of any and all technologies and sizes of PV devices from around the world, following ISO 17025 and ISO 9001 requirements. Upon completion of testing, the group provides certified data. Those data include:

  • Measured total area of the device
  • EQE and I-V curves for the device
  • Performance parameters of the device (Voc, Isc, FF, η, Vmax, Imax, Pmax)
  • Uncertainty values.

Certified Measurements

If you are requesting a Certified ISO 17025 measurement, ensure your samples meet the requirements specified in the service request section of our website.  If they do not, additional time will be needed to assure correct measurements are performed.

For more information, contact Dean Levi.