PV Module Testing

Testing and Certification on PV Modules

The PV Module Testing (PVMT) Group at SERIS offers a wide range of services on testing and certification of PV modules to customers from the PV industry. The PVMT Laboratory has been accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 quality certification standard since 2012. 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. The specialised services offered by the PVMT Group are summarised below (“SOLAR STEPS”):

S - Standard IEC / UL testing
O - Other non-standard testing
L - Light soaking stabilisation
A - Accelerated ageing
R - Repeated challenge testing
S - Salt mist testing
T - Test-to-Fail
E - Evaluation of c-Si & thin-film PV technologies
P - Potential induced degradation (PID)
S - SERIS Quality Check for manufacturers

  1. Standard IEC/UL certification testing
    The PVMT Group performs secondary certification testing in accordance to the international qualification and type approval standard IEC 61215 and safety standards (IEC 61730 and UL 1703). The core certification tests available in the PVMT laboratory are listed below.
    1. Module characterisation
      The PVMT Laboratory performs the following types of module power measurements:
      • At Standard Test Conditions (STC, i.e. 1000 W/m2 total irradiance, AM1.5g spectrum and 25°C cell temperature): the power output of c-Si PV modules is measured with an expanded (k=2) uncertainty as low as ±1.8%
      • At Nominal Operating Cell Temperature* (NOCT, i.e., the temperature at which a PV module operates in the field)
      • At low irradiance levels
      • At various temperatures, to calculate temperature coefficients and predict module performance at any temperature
    2. *NOCT has been replaced by the Nominal Module Operating Temperature (NMOT) in the last revision of IEC 61215. The PVMT Laboratory is presently updating the measurement procedure and uncertainty evaluation accordingly.

    3. Module reliability
      The PVMT Laboratory is able to perform several reliability tests for PV module qualification and type approval:
      • Damp-Heat Test – to investigate the durability of PV modules against long-term exposure to high temperature (85°C) and high humidity (85% RH)
      • Thermal Cycling Test – to evaluate the reliability of PV modules undergoing extreme thermal stresses by alternating the module temperature from +85°C to –40°C in 200 cycles
      • Humidity-Freeze Test – to examine the effect of humidity (85% RH) penetration followed by sub-zero temperatures (+85°C to –40°C)
      • Hotspot Endurance Test – to examine the module’s ability to withstand localized heating caused by cracked cells, mismatched cells, interconnection failures, partial shading or soiling
      • Mechanical Load Test – to determine the robustness of PV modules to withstand mechanical stress such as wind, snow and ice loads
    4. Module safety
      The PVMT Laboratory conducts tests defined in IEC 61730 and UL 1703 to examine the safety of PV modules and their components against electrical hazards, mechanical hazards, thermal hazards, etc.
  2. Pre-normative non-standard testing to serve customer requirements and applications
    To accommodate specific customer needs, the PVMT Laboratory 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 available include:
    • Accelerated ageing 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
  3. Failure analysis and degradation studies of PV modules
    The PVMT Laboratory 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 imaging analysis
    • Module spectral responsivity measurements (used, for example, for mismatch correction calculation)
    • Root-cause study of PV module degradation
  4. SERIS Quality Check for PV manufacturers
    A new quality check test sequence, known as SERIS Quality Check (SQC) testing, was developed in 2016. The SQC provides PV system owners, EPC operators, financiers and other stakeholders a powerful means to qualitatively assess the quality of the actual PV modules batches that are supposed to be delivered to the project site. The tests included in the SQC are:
    • Light soaking (pre-conditioning)
    • Power measurement at STC and at low irradiance
    • Electroluminescence
    • PID
    • Determination of temperature coefficients
    • Dynamic mechanical load tests

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

For further information, please contact:

Kenneth GOH