The Importance of Quality Control of Photovoltaic Modules: Flash Test 

                                                                          Solar Asset Management

The importance of the photovoltaic module quality control process is growing among Investors, although its implementation in large-size plants > 10MW can trigger possible delays in the installation of the modules.  

Not doing the flash tests when the modules arrive on site can lead to unpleasant surprises such as not meeting the power values ​​guaranteed by the manufacturer according to its “flash list”, most likely the installation cannot reach the production target and warranty performance ratio from the EPC. 

Greensolver’s Advice

It is recommended to inspect the container seals upon delivery of the modules to the site. This is to ensure that no one outside of the carrier has tampered with them. Inspection of all the modules upon delivery is recommended. It is also recommended to inspect all the modules upon delivery. In case of any damage to them, you can claim the manufacturer. Normally you have 5 days for inspection and claim. 

Once this first inspection is done, in order to control the power supplied by the manufacturer, a random sample of modules is submitted to independent laboratories assigned by the manufacturer to measure their power and do electroluminescence (EL) tests (to verify that the modules have not been damaged during transport and/or assembly). These values are compared with the datasheet provided by the Manufacturer, in what is called a “Flash Test”. 

A key point to keep in mind is that the Flash Test values ​​have been measured under Standard Test Conditions (25ºC and 1000 W/m2), for this reason, these tests are made in specialized laboratories, but it has the problem that normally a very small sample of the modules is sent around 20-50 modules.

For a larger plant sample, use a calibrated device that responds to environmental changes similarly to the module. For example, PVPM1000, HT, and Tri-ka.

Greensolver recommends testing and verifying that the module manufacturer’s flash test matches measurements in both the lab and the field.

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Written by Alberto Santos, Asset Manager