Solar Energy

Risk management for solar PV module procurement.

Belief is not merely an idea the mind possess, it is an idea that possess the mind. – Robert Bolton

Many developers, EPC’s and integrators believe that purchasing modules from a Tier 1 Bloomberg manufacturer, guarantee top of line panels. Unfortunately, being a tier 1 supplier is not a measure of what superb quality PV is, rather review the BOM, manufacturing process, supplier financial stability and whether production is done in house. Most manufacturers today, use OEM’s to supply their demand and fulfill their purchase orders. But, what about the module manufacturer you contracted with?

There are 8 steps you can follow to verify the origin of your panels:

  1. Conduct a high-level process audit of the factory.
  2. Photograph BOM components as materials are removed from their original packaging.
  3. Observe and record over 100 technical details about the BOM.
  4. Strictly track each BOM component through every step of production.
  5. Collect backsheet, encapsulant and connector samples for testing and inventory.
  6. Document recipes used for soldering and laminating.
  7. When 3rd party testing pull and sign each module and seal the pallets with tamperproof tape.
  8. Ship pallets directly to 3rd party testing facility.
During the audit you should also look for the following:

  1. Financial audit of manufacturer.
  2. Specify PV module bill of materials “BOM.”
  3. Conduct factory audits.
  4. Review & confirm Product Verification Program.
  5. Confirm product quality during manufacturing.
  6. Oversee packing & shipping.
  7. Verify performance after installation.

If you have two months before requiring modules please let us know, and we will remove all risk by auditing your order from BOM through delivery.

Energy yield predictions factor heavily in procurement decisions, cost of capital calculations and risk assessments. A custom PAN file provided by a 3rd party, that is based on laboratory-measured irradiance and temperature-dependent behavior of the PV module, will result in more accurate energy models.

Manufacturers have implemented strong “Light and elevated Temperature Induced Degradation” (LeTID) controls in cell production lines, with an industry standard degradation of 0.96% with a true norm of 1.17% after hundreds of hours of testing. Manufacturers market themselves as having “LeTID-free” PERC modules, which is clearly the case for some modules. Some cases are up to 3% degradation when measured scientifically. Because of the rapid increase in the modules available on the market, it is crucial that buyers require PQP testing to ensure they receive truly “LeTID-free” BOM.

If you have questions or comments please contact Karlita or Robert, we will be happy to assist with any questions you may have.

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