Solar Panel Module Quality: 5 Key Considerations for a Successful Purchase
“Investing in solar panels is not just about the cost, it’s about the quality. Ensuring that the modules meet basic quality standards is crucial for the success and longevity of your solar project.”
Solar energy is rapidly gaining popularity as a clean and sustainable source of energy. However, ensuring the quality of solar panels is crucial to ensure they meet basic quality standards for safe operation, reliability, and durability. In India, where module cost accounts for almost half of the total project cost, it is essential to address module quality issues at the manufacturing facility or as close to it as possible. In this article, we will discuss five key considerations while selecting your solar panel module quality assurance.
- Third-party testing and aggregated procurement Third-party testing and aggregated procurement involve aggregating and procuring modules through larger distributors. This would involve EPC companies and developers, especially small vendors, procuring modules through a single entity, resulting in better purchasing power and economies of scale at the module manufacturer’s end as well as lower transaction costs for testing.
- Mandating module quality testing by the distribution utility Module quality testing can also be mandated by distribution utilities and can be implemented using a third-party testing and validation agency. This agency would provide certification for specific lots of modules produced, which would be checked by the distribution utility at the time of commissioning. Developing a module quality testing and certification protocol is a key step in this process.
- Developing an MQT protocol Designing an MQT protocol would include putting a standardized process with requirements in place. It will outline the testing parameters that will be evaluated, the sampling methodology that will be used, and the manner in which the results will be provided and interpreted. The MQT will provide guidance to developers, EPC companies, and consumers on component quality used in manufacturing the modules, the quality acceptance tests performed on these modules, and the results of these tests, including details of how these tests were performed.
- Rating of module quality as a part of the VRF Rating by an independent agency as part of the VRF would allow developers, banks, and consumers to understand the quality of the modules from various module manufacturers. This would be done after commissioning and would be time-consuming because a huge amount of data would have to be collected, analyzed, and released.
- Choosing a reliable module manufacturer Choosing a reliable module manufacturer is essential. It is important to look for certifications such as IEC 61215, IEC 61730, and IEC 62804, which ensure the safe operation, service life, reliability, and durability of PV modules. It is also essential to check the warranty period and ensure that the module manufacturer has a good track record of after-sales service.
In conclusion, module quality issues must be addressed at the manufacturing facility or as close to it as possible. Third-party testing and aggregated procurement, mandating module quality testing by the distribution utility, developing an MQT protocol, rating of module quality as part of the VRF, and choosing a reliable module manufacturer are five key considerations while selecting your solar panel module quality assurance. By considering these factors, you can ensure that your solar panel modules meet basic quality standards for safe operation, reliability, and durability, and make the most of your investment in solar energy.