Update on the International PV QA Task Force and IEC Standards

Update on the International PV QA Task Force and IEC Standards 

By Sarah Kurtz, NREL

Quality Management

A primary effort of the International PV QA Task Force (PVQAT) has been the development of a guide for ensuring consistent implementation of qualified designs.  IEC/TS 62941 “Guideline for increased confidence in PV module design qualification and type approval” has now been approved and is in the publication process.  Consistent implementation of IEC 62941 is proposed to use ISO/IEC 17021 (and other ISO documents) to guide definition of:

  • Pass-fail requirements
  • Audit process
  • Audit sampling
  • Audit time

Climate-specific Qualification Testing:

The interest in defining qualification testing specifically for hot climates has come to a head with recent workshops in Saudi Arabia and India. Based on a study by PVTEC, Saudi Arabia has reviewed and adopted a proposal about use of higher temperatures in qualifying modules for Saudi Arabia and is actively engaging in international discussions to define an international standard around this proposal.

Researchers in India have documented higher degradation rates for PV systems in hotter climate zones, and are also committed to developing an international standard. IEC Technical Committee 82, Working Group 2 has formed a team to take action on this need. PVQAT will continue research efforts to provide technical basis for moving forward.

Based on studies showing that thermal fatigue tends to occur faster in hotter climates, A New Work Item has been submitted for increased thermal cycling as part of climate-specific testing.

For more information on International PV QA Task Force (PVQAT), please visit: www.pvqat.org

Support of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

IECRE was formed to provide a means for system-level verification of renewable energy systems, including wind, solar, and marine systems.  Rules of Procedure have been drafted and are being revised before being finalized.  The IEC 61724 series is nearing completion and will define:

  • how to monitor a PV system
  • measure the capacity (power output)
  • measure the annual energy relative to the predicted energy.

Of these, the most critical to documenting system performance is a year-long energy test.

Substantial discussion remains regarding whether to require inclusion of an energy availability metric in addition to a performance index, which calibrates the system’s performance relative to that expected for the system. Inspection of the quality management system for the module manufacturing will be guided under IEC 62941 as part of the IECRE certification; guidance of this is being managed by IECRE as described above. 

A New Work Item for oversight of the installation process is currently being reviewed. Details still need to be finalized regarding the exact format of the data and definition of pass-fail criteria.  If you are interested in joining this effort, please contact George Kelly george@sunset-technology.com.


December 16, 2015