Reliable PV module measurements in production
As the PV market is growing, so also is the need for more reliable measurements. Because the output power of every module should be measured in production and as the resulting power class affects the selling price, inaccurate measurements lead to money loss.
Other tests on the quality of PV modules are also performed based on the needs of the end user and because of market regulation. These include, for example, electroluminescence imaging, electrical safety testing of the modules and visual inspection.
Key aspects in reliable measurements are high quality testing equipment and information on their actual performance, ease of use and level of automation. Finland based Endeas Oy has been manufacturing solar simulators since 2001. A global clientele has proven that QuickSun solar simulators are a key part in highly efficient production lines. QuickSun 550CE is the latest high-end testing station that can perform all necessary tests to prove PV modules from production are of high quality.
International standards give the mandatory testing requirements. They tell which kinds of tests should be performed and what kind of equipment should be used for the tests. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) prepares standards for the PV industry. These include safety standards on the construction of modules (IEC 61730-1) and on the measurements to guarantee the safety (IEC 61730-2), a standard series which details the measurements of electrical characteristics (IEC 60904), and standard series which details how real life energy yield may be calculated (IEC 61853).
When PV modules are manufactured according to standards and their characteristics are measured with equipment, that follows the standards, the module end user can be confident in their investment. Their PV installations will produce energy according to specification and long term energy yield will behave predictably.