PV Module Testing

Testing and Certification on PV Modules

SERIS’ PV Module Testing (PVMT) Group engages in both Certification and R&D activities relevant to industry. Since our set up from 2010, we now conduct following activities for customers: Golden Module measurement with Uncertainty reporting; Fast Indoor test with comparison to outdoor tests e.g. NOCT, NMOT, Temp-Test etc; Assessment ranking of module components and accessories for best value production selection; Fault analysis and power loss impact computation; In-situ with close to real-time degradation tracking during tests; In addition, SERIS’ know-how and experience in PV module reliability testing and research also enable the PVMT Group to offer services and support that extend well beyond the standard tests :

Full-module to single cell Spectral Response measurement

  • The PVMT Group performs secondary certification testing in accordance to international quality and safety standards (IEC 61215, IEC 61730 and UL 1703). The core certification tests available in the PVMT laboratory are:

    a) Power measurements

    SERIS’ PVMT laboratory performs the following types of module power measurements:

    • under STC (standard test conditions)
      The power output of PV modules is determined under an irradiation of 1000 W/m2 with controlled module temperature of 25°C. For crystalline silicon modules, the power output is measured with an uncertainty as low as 1.8%.
    • at NOCT (nominal operating cell temperature)
      NOCT provides an estimation of the temperature at which a PV module will operate in the field.
    • at low irradiance levels
      This measurement is conducted to determine the power output generated at low irradiance levels.
    • determination of module temperature coefficients
      The correlation between the operating temperature of a module and its power output can be described using temperature coefficients. As a result, the actual module power output at a certain temperature can be calculated.

    b) Durability tests

    SERIS’ PVMT laboratory conducts accelerated aging tests such as:

    • Damp-Heat Test
      This test investigates the durability of PV modules against long-term exposure to high temperature (85°C) and high humidity (85% RH).
    • Thermal-Cycling Test
      This test aims to evaluate the reliability of PV modules undergoing extreme thermal stresses by alternating the module temperature from -40°C to +85°C in 200 cycles.
    • Humidity-Freeze Test
      This test examines the effect of humidity penetration followed by sub-zero temperatures (+85°C to 40°C) on PV module performance and reliability.
    • Hot-Spot Test
      This test examines the module’s ability to withstand localized heating caused by cracked cells, mismatched cells, interconnection failures, partial shading or soiling.
    • Mechanical Load Test (MLT)
      This test determines the robustness of PV modules to withstand mechanical stress such as wind, snow and ice loads.

    c) Safety tests

    SERIS’ PVMT laboratory conducts tests defined in IEC 61730 to examine the safety of PV modules and their components against electrical hazards, fire hazards, etc.

  • To accommodate specific customer requirements and applications, SERIS’ PVMT lab offers individually tailored test sequences (for example repeated challenge testing) and extended tests for quality evaluation of customers’ c-Si and thin-film PV modules. Our competency lies particularly in the testing of modules installed in the harsh tropical climate conditions (relatively high temperatures and constantly high humidity). Extended tests performed include:

    • accelerated aging tests with extended durations or toughened test conditions
    • indoor and outdoor potential induced degradation (PID) testing
    • six different salt mist severity tests in compliance with IEC 61701
  • SERIS’ PVMT lab also offers reliability-related R&D services, including:

    • light soaking stabilization (to ensure module stability against light induced degradation, LID)
    • leakage current monitoring during PID testing
    • detailed analysis of mechanical and/or electrical failures of PV modules (test-to-fail)
    • electroluminescence (EL) imaging analysis
    • module spectral response (SR) measurements (used, for example, for mismatch correction calculation)
    • root cause study of PV module degradation
  • A new Quality Check test sequence, known as SERIS Quality Check (SQC) testing, has been formulated in 2016. The SQC provides PV system owners, EPC operators, finance companies and stakeholders a means to qualify and quantify the quality of the PV modules delivered in batches. The tests included in the SQC are: light soaking, power at STC, electroluminescence, PID, dynamic mechanical load tests, and power measurements under low irradiance conditions.

    SERIS Quality Check testing for a batch of 10 PV modules.