DNV GL releases 2017 PV Module Reliability Scorecard

Report identifies 20 high performing manufacturers, including several first-time manufacturers in the “high performers” ranking

MUNICH, Germany, Intersolar Europe, 1 June 2017 – DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts and certification body, has released its third annual PV Module Reliability Scorecard report, presenting the most complete publicly-available comparison of PV module reliability test results.

Although the dramatic module price drop of recent years has helped to accelerate PV industry growth, concerns over cost reduction at the expense of module quality have persisted. As project financiers rely on performance prediction over several decades, it is important to understand the long-term performance of PV modules. The DNV GL Product Qualification Program (PQP) submits PV components to a unique set of tests which gives the clarity needed by module manufacturers, developers and financiers. Manufacturers that participate in DNV GL’s PQP can choose to participate in the Scorecard analysis. Currently about 70% of the largest PV manufacturers participate in the program.

Top findings in the 2017 Scorecard include:

  1. Most modules tested maintain performance after reliability testing. However, the bottom quartile of most tests exhibit degradation levels that could put systems at financial risk.
  2. Specific Bill of Materials (BOMs), factories, and manufacturer do matter: the same module type with different BOMs or manufacturing location often perform quite differently.
  3. The size of the manufacturer is not a good indicator of performance in reliability testing. The same manufacturer may produce modules with a large spread in performance in reliability testing.
  4. The number of participants in the DNV GL Product Qualification Program and therefore in the Scorecard have been steadily growing. In this edition of the Scorecard, the number of manufacturer participants jumped by 69% compared to last year.

“Our Product Qualification Program and Scorecard help create clarity for players in the solar market,” said Ditlev Engel, CEO DNV GL – Energy. “Testing helps manufacturers deliver better quality modules and supports financiers and developers in taking informed component purchasing decisions. We are committed to support the growth of the solar industry and to contribute to a global sustainable energy future.”

“While a 25-year performance warranty is standard in the industry, most PV module models, with a specific Bill of Materials, have actually been in use for less than a few years, so there is a limited amount of data on how equipment holds up over time,” said DNV GL’s Jenya Meydbray, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Laboratory Services, and the study’s lead author. “Though there is no truer test of a module’s reliability and long term performance than decades of real-world field experience, since 2012, the DNV GL Product Qualification Program and the PV Module Reliability Scorecard’s findings have become a critical resource to an industry looking to better understand risk in a commercially reasonable timeframe.”

About the DNV GL Product Qualification Program (PQP)
The DNV GL PQP is a voluntary program designed to enhance trust between PV component manufacturers and all downstream players taking financial risks related to PV component reliability and durability. Manufacturers submit their components to a unique set of tests defined by taking into account the latest advancements in component reliability science and the lab testing requests from the downstream community. All participating manufacturers receive a detailed report about the performance of their components in the tests.

This program serves manufacturers and a network of more than 175 developers, EPCs, banks and financiers, representing a PV-component buying power estimated to be more than 30GW per year. These DNV GL downstream partners enjoy access at no cost to the world’s largest dataset of PV component reliability results.

Meanwhile, PQP participating manufacturers and products acquire the visibility and credibility among the global downstream community that they need to remain competitive in this dynamic and global market. DNV GL runs its Product Qualification Program for PV modules, PV inverters and energy storage systems.

About the DNV GL PV Module Reliability Scorecard
DNV GL releases today the third edition of the DNV GL PV Module Reliability Scorecard analysing reliability test results of more than 50 commercially-available PV module models, and making it the most complete publicly-available comparison of PV module reliability test results.

This study covers five major reliability tests: thermal cycling, dynamic mechanical load, damp heat, humidity freeze and PID (potential induced degradation).

Participation in the Scorecard is an integral part of the DNV GL Product Qualification Program. As a consequence, all modules tested underwent the exact same selection process and testing scope and the report includes most of the leading manufacturers active in the market today.

Serving as a tool to compare module expected durability and long-term performance, the Scorecard’s findings also provide a resource for financiers, developers and independent power producers with data to inform prudent decisions about PV modules.

Over 3,000 industry stakeholders downloaded last year’s report, which has become a mainstream source of global PV module reliability test data.

Since this is the third instalment of the PV Module Reliability Scorecard, it can now additionally be identified which manufacturers have maintained top performance positions consistently and which are the most improved since 2014. Many additional manufacturers appeared in this year’s edition for the first time.

2017 DNV GL PV Module Reliability Scorecard release at Intersolar Europe
DNV GL is releasing the 2017 PV Module Reliability Scorecard at Intersolar Europe inviting European and international developers, EPCs, financiers, and anyone taking technical risks on long-term performance to join the DNV GL downstream partner global network at no cost.

DNV GL intends to update the PV Module Reliability Scorecard on an annual basis, with the 2018 edition expected to be published in the first half of next year. Additional modules tested through the DNV GL Product Qualification Program will be featured. A similar report focused on PV inverters is planned for release in late 2017.

About DNV GL
Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We provide classification and technical assurance along with software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries. We also provide certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. Operating in more than 100 countries, our professionals are dedicated to helping our customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

In the Energy Industry
2,500 energy experts support customers around the globe in delivering a safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable energy supply. We deliver world-renowned testing, certification and advisory services to the energy value chain including renewables and energy efficiency. Our expertise spans onshore and offshore wind power, solar, conventional generation, transmission and distribu¬tion, smart grids and sustainable energy use, as well as energy markets and regulations. Our testing, certification and advisory services are delivered independent from each other. Learn more at www.dnvgl.com/energy.