We offer a number of different tests and measurements. These are suitable for both quality control of solar parks and goods receipt inspection for wholesalers.
Power performance under Standard Test Conditions (STC)
This is one of our most important laboratory services. Solar modules are priced according to their performance under standard test conditions. It is therefore very important to confirm if the indicated performance has really been delivered. The PV LAB sun simulators exceed the limits of the highest (AAA) of IEC standards.
If necessary, express orders can be processed within seven business days.
Standard Test Conditions are defined as: 1,000 W/m2 Radiation | Spectrum AM (air-mass) 1.5 | 25° Cell temperature.
Lowlight measurements – Making yield differences computable
Low-light performance is important for determining the yield of a system. Publications show that modules with the same STC performance can have a performance difference of up to 15% at only 100 W/m² radiation. We offer low-light measurements between 100 W/m² and 1000 W/m².
EVA cross linking test – determines the longevity of the module
Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is the embedding material for the solar cells and it holds the PV module together. Since this plastic material needs to last for more than 20 years and should survive adverse weather conditions, it is vitally important. Most EVA producers recommend cross-linking levels of at least 65% – 80%. Cross-linking levels that are too low can indicate process or material defects that may shorten the life of PV modules.
PV Lab determines the cross-linking level of production samples or samples prepared directly from the modules. We usually use the Soxhlet procedure.
Electroluminescence imaging– an x-ray of the solar module
Electroluminescence imaging has been widely discussed in the trade press in recent years. The images are like an x-ray of the solar module and can make many material and processing defects as well as shipment damages visible. PV Lab recommends electroluminescence imaging as a standard procedure for quality assurance.
Insulation measurement – very important for safety
The insulation of solar modules is not only decisive for the operation, but it is relevant for safety. For thin-film modules, wet leakage current measurements are performed during the goods receipt inspection.
We are able to assist banks, investors, and project developers for the full journey of a project.
Risks can be minimized early on, for example when selecting a suitable supplier and in drawing up your supply contract. If you desire, we can assist you during initial negotiations with potential suppliers and can help you to find the right producer. Our services don’t end with the realization of the project, but can be extended until the expiration of the warranty period. Our technical feasibility tests investigate the total life of solar modules and inverters. We closely collaborate with a network of experts for any questions outside of our core competencies. And, if necessary, we consult special labs. Thus, we are able to cover complete damage analysis.
In addition to lab services which include tests and measurements according to IEC standards as well as numerous suitable measurements to determine the yield and allow for quality control, PV LAB offers extensive consultancy services. Investors, banks, and project planners receive individual consultation and advice on measures for adequate quality assurance. Even wholesalers can benefit from our consultancy, for example for goods receipt or shipment inspections.
When devising such quality assurance measures, PV LAB focuses on the individual needs of the customer for risk reduction and planning of quality assurance. Each solar project has different requirements for quality and risk management. Therefore, PV LAB’s experts not only advise from afar, but can also advise on location – all over the world and “hands-on”.
We recommend the following consultancy services for sustainable quality assurance:
Production monitoring – recorded quality ex-factory
You want to know early on if a producer adheres to the stated performance and quality assurances. We control your modules during their production. Together with producers, and their production, we critically test if the modules that you ordered comply with the contractual specifications. We take sample measurements at the factory and record all relevant results for you– in time and independently.
Shipment inspections – exclude any shipment damage
You will receive your modules from the producer after a long trip typically by ship and truck. Transport damage can never be completely ruled out, but it can be discovered during a shipment inspection. Even damage that cannot be seen with the eye can be detected. We test samples and make sure that the delivered modules meet the promised performance and quality standards.
Goods receipt inspections – safety is better than visual inspection
If you are a wholesaler, you will receive large amounts of solar modules. Usually, you must trust the producer’s statements and trust your visual inspection to make sure that the quality of each shipment is consistent. Scrutiny through sample tests at the time goods are received will help you to immediately detect any defects or damage. This will protect you from possible customer claims and you can insist on improvements or replacements from the producer. And, your customer will benefit as well – they receive consistent quality and can avoid any claims from their customers.
Material analyses – quality is in the detail
Visual inspection of the module does not suffice to assure quality. Investors, project developers and wholesalers often are interested in checking every detail of a solar module. Material analyses using production samples or samples prepared directly from modules allows for detailed quality tests.
Sampling and laboratory tests
Not every module must be tested. We help you to select the right sample number and we only test as many modules as necessary. This guarantees reliable quality assurance while keeping costs down. In our lab and using mobile measuring instruments, we can reliably and quickly test the quality of the samples. This gives you an optimal return on investment and increases quality assurance.
Supervision during construction and technical inspection
We help builders during the construction phase of a solar power plant and represent their interests. This service is concluded with the technical inspection.
Once the solar power plant begins operation, we can monitor performance for the owner. This allows us to quickly recognise, report and mitigate any deviations from the nominal output.
On offer are all-inclusive service packages. In addition to workshops on quality assurance and risk reduction, we offer a service package including comprehensive reliability tests and building inspection as well as specific tests and factory audits.
If you are in a hurry, we can offer you an express package. Even with short notice, we can perform tests quickly and efficiently.
There are numerous topics and questions. During a beginner’s workshop, we advise you, answer your questions and respond to your problems. We give you a first insight and make you aware of the importance of quality assurance. The duration and scope of all workshops depend on your needs.
Lot Acceptance Testing
We create sample reports according to IEC 60410 and use these reports to take samples and perform tests on your deliveries.
The goal of a factory audit is to evaluate the suitability, reliability and quality potential of a producer. Our audit visits on site allow us to look behind the scenes and to check the producer’s quality management, production and testing methods. This allows us to assure that the producer meets the customers’ demands.
Construction and Operation
We help the builder during the construction phase of a solar power plant and represent his interests. This service includes technical inspection. After the solar power plant starts operation, we monitor performance for the owner. This allows us to quickly recognise, report and mitigate any deviations from the nominal output.
Sometimes, you need it ASAP. With large projects, unexpected test needs may arise. Usually, there is no time to waste, and a defective operation can mean lost money. Claims for replacement must be made quickly. If you need quick service, just purchase our express service. We can take measurements within seven business days, even on short notice.
PV Lab Australia has a network of quality controls that work together to ensure a consistently high standard of measurement. At the heart of our measurement laboratory is the AAA rated sun simulator, manufactured by h.a.l.m..
We use a reference cell, not a reference module. Reference modules are almost always used in production lines but have an uncertainty in the short circuit current of 2.3%. Our reference cell has an uncertainty of less than 0.65%.
Both the electronics for the sun simulator and the reference cell are calibrated regularly by external parties. The electronics are calibrated by h.a.l.m. and the WPVS reference cell is calibrated by one of the three metrology institutes in the world that keep the PV standard; the PTB in Germany.
As part of our measurement procedure, we perform a regular basic calibration of the entire setup and statistical process controls are done with a secondary standard every day that we make a measurement.