Feb 2024

Sunshine and Shaky Panels: Tackling Quality Concerns in Solar Modules with Third-Party Verification

(Authored by Jaykumar Dhola, Technical Services Manager, STS )

As the global solar energy sector continues to flourish, ushering in a promising era of sustainable power generation, it’s essential to address the underlying concerns surrounding the quality of solar modules. Recent reports have underscored a myriad of issues plaguing the industry:

1. Cell Defects: From micro-cracks to broken fingers and dead cells, these imperfections can significantly impair efficiency and output.

2. Hot Spots: Uneven heating within modules can not only compromise their integrity but also pose serious fire hazards.

3. Material Degradation: The usage of subpar encapsulants and backsheets can expedite weathering, thereby diminishing the lifespan of modules.

4. Electrical Flaws: Short circuits, open circuits, and grounding issues not only compromise performance but also jeopardize safety.

These challenges arise due to a combination of factors:

1. Rapidly Growing Demand: With the burgeoning demand for solar energy, some manufacturers may prioritize speed over quality, leading to compromised standards.
Diverse Supply Chain: Sourcing components from various regions with differing quality standards can introduce inconsistencies and increase risks.

2. Limited Internal Oversight: Inadequate internal quality control measures in some manufacturing facilities can exacerbate these issues.

So, how can we ensure the reliability and integrity of solar modules? The solution lies in third-party inspection, testing, and certification (TIC):

1. Independent Verification: TIC organizations conduct meticulous testing based on international standards to ensure modules meet stringent performance, safety, and durability criteria.

2. Risk Mitigation: Third-party validation significantly reduces the likelihood of encountering faulty modules, thereby safeguarding buyers and installers alike.

3. Market Transparency: Certification schemes establish a level playing field, fostering fair competition and compelling manufacturers to prioritize quality.

4. Investor Confidence: TIC instills trust and attracts investments, expediting the growth of the solar industry.

While innovation remains pivotal, prioritizing quality is imperative. By harnessing the power of TIC, we can uphold the integrity of the solar revolution, delivering clean, dependable energy for generations to come.