NREL Releases "Qualification Plus" Testing Protocol
By Sarah Kurtz, NREL
The photovoltaic industry has been asking for testing that goes beyond the standard qualification testing (e.g. to IEC 61215). NREL recently released "Qualification Plus" as a testing protocol intended to identify design problems that are currently being observed in the field. It includes a number of useful tests that are in the process of being adopted as international standards.
The testing protocol has three parts:
- material or component-level testing
- module-level testing
- requirement of audit of the quality management system
The protocol also requires random sampling from a production line, testing of a larger number of samples, and an ongoing program to ensure continued control of the manufacturing process.
The protocol may be found at: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/60950.pdf
There are plans to adopt Qualification Plus and PV-specific Quality Management Systems as ANSI/TUV-R national standards in the coming months by TUV Rheinland.
SEMI, The Grid – April 2014