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2018 PV Module Reliability Scorecard

PV module test results improve, yet significant failures persist

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Tara Doyle Tara Doyle
Head of Section, Business Development & Project Management
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PV module reliability scorecard 2018
Benchmarking report finds that despite general trend of improved performance, a significant number of PV products still experience failures
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PV module reliability scorecard 2018 launch
Presentation of the report by Tristan Erion-Lorico
PV module reliability scorecard 2018 launch
The well-attended lunch-to-launch
PV module reliability scorecard 2018 launch
Welcome to the PV scorecard lunch-to-launch session
PV module reliability scorecard 2018 launch
PV module Top Performer awards
PV module reliability scorecard 2018 launch
The Top Performer awards waiting to be handed over

BERKELEY, California, U.S. - 28 May 2018 - DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts and certification body, today published its fourth annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard report, the most complete publicly available comparison of PV module reliability test results. 

This year’s report finds that the reliability and durability of modules submitted to DNV GL for testing for the 2018 PV Module Reliability Scorecard generally improved in several of the test categories. However, in one of the test categories, damp heat, performance decreased. With 22% of manufacturers experiencing at least one failure in overall testing, buyers being conscious of the specific Bill of Materials (BOM) that identify specific models as Top Performers is crucial. 

For 2018, global annual solar installations are expected to surpass 100 GW. This growth in solar installations is in part driven by new technology, which can lead to higher gains and lower costs of PV products. With new modules available on the solar market, rigorous testing demonstrating the reliability and durability of the latest cutting-edge technology is vital. 

The annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard reports the results of DNV GL’s PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP). The PQP and resulting Scorecard are voluntary programs that allow PV module manufacturers to demonstrate the reliability and durability of their products to the global industry, and provide PV equipment buyers and power plant investors with independent and consistent module reliability data. 

In the six years since the PV Module Product Qualification Program started, DNV GL has tested over 300 BOMs for more than 50 manufacturers including nine of the top ten global module manufacturers and over 70% of the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance “Tier 1” manufacturers list. 

The PV Module Reliability Scorecard summarizes the last 18 months of PQP testing results.  Key findings from the 2018 PV Module Reliability Scorecard include:

  • An overall improvement in test results compared to 2017
  • 9% of BOMs submitted failed one or more of the test criteria
  • 12% of model types failed one or more of the test criteria
  • 22% of manufacturers had at least one failure according to the test criteria
  • Failure rates were not linked to the geographic location of the factory or size of the manufacturer

“DNV GL’s PV Module Reliability Scorecard is an invaluable tool that Pacifico Energy uses for our overall procurement strategy. For Pacifico, it is extremely helpful when PV module suppliers undergo the Product Qualification Program testing so that Pacifico can benchmark performance across our supplier base, thereby ensuring our projects are built with reliable and durable products that will perform as expected,” said Nate Franklin, president and CEO of Pacifico Energy K. K., a Japan-based utility scale investor, developer and operator of PV plants.

A new feature in this year’s Scorecard is the introduction of a “Historical Scorecard.” This recognizes manufacturers that have been consistently ranked among the Top Performers over the last four previous Scorecard editions, and highlights those manufacturers who are new to the market, newly participating in the PQP and Scorecard, or newly named Top Performer in 2018.

“We know that the manufacturers who participate in our Product Qualification Program prioritize product quality and reliability, and the robust evaluation of our program is helping drive manufacturers to new levels. Our test results also show that, no matter who the manufacturer, buyers need to be aware of the specific Bill of Material specification of their PV module purchases. Buyers should also be aware that not all manufacturers have their modules tested for quality and reliability. Buying untested modules is a risk that could have major repercussions for their projects,” said Ditlev Engel, CEO, Energy at DNV GL. 

The 2018 PV Module Reliability Scorecard is available as a free download.

About DNV GL
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DNV GL delivers world-renowned testing and advisory services to the energy value chain including renewables and energy management. Our expertise spans onshore and offshore wind power, solar, conventional generation, transmission and distribution, smart grids, and sustainable energy use, as well as energy markets and regulations. Our experts support customers around the globe in delivering a safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy supply. Learn more at www.dnvgl.com/energy.