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Hail strikes a solar module during PVEL’s hail stress sequence, which is now a required test in PVEL’s PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP).

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), an independent test lab for the downstream solar and energy storage market, released a new hail test for its PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP) and announced that future testing will occur at PVEL’s new headquarters in Napa, California. The facility represents 100% growth in testing capacity over PVEL’s Berkeley and South San Francisco locations and will replace those labs when it opens in early 2022.

“From hail to super-sized PV modules, the reliability concerns of solar investors and asset owners are continually evolving,” said Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PVEL. “At PVEL, we must evolve in turn. With our larger, consolidated new facility, recent testing updates and strong partnership with the global Kiwa Group, PVEL is within reach of our long-term vision to provide rigorous, comprehensive bankability testing for every type of PV module, inverter and battery — no matter the size, power class or field application.”

PVEL’s PQPs for PV modules, inverters and batteries are comprehensive, regularly updated suites of extended reliability and performance tests that inform technical due diligence and procurement for solar and storage projects. The hail stress sequence was added to the PQP to address concerns from insurers and asset owners about the ability of PV modules to withstand severe hail impacts. To design the hail stress sequence, PVEL leveraged data from nearly 1 GW of hail-damaged projects that it has evaluated in the field as well as test results from in-lab experiments.

“As global installed solar capacity breaks every established record and solar PV modules are deployed to the furthest reaches of the globe, we will continue uncovering risks that can only be overcome with new data,” said Jason Kaminsky, COO of kWh Analytics. “Our team is thrilled to collaborate with PVEL and incorporate the PQP insights into our new property insurance product. PVEL’s data informs the industry how to deploy durable and insurable PV modules in every location that needs clean power.”

The development of PVEL’s new hail test was informed by insurance claim and asset performance data from kWh Analytics. PVEL also solicited feedback from its downstream partners, a diverse group of organizations that includes asset owners, developers and insurers. As with all PV Module PQP tests, hail stress sequence reports are complimentary for members of PVEL’s downstream partner network. Companies that sign up as PVEL’s partners utilize PQP data for technical intelligence related to project development and finance, including product benchmarking, vendor management and equipment selection.

“As a global industry, we must consider natural catastrophes like hailstorms in the context of a changing climate. It is time to future-proof solar projects around the world for new weather patterns that are difficult to predict yet impossible to ignore,” said Kevin Christy, head of innovation and operational excellence, Americas of Lightsource bp. “Particularly for solar assets in central U.S. states, we need new test protocols that will allow module buyers to truly understand those products’ limits of durability against potentially damaging hail — especially given that over the next decade we expect to see the installed PV capacity in high-risk states more than quadruple.”

In addition to the new hail test, PVEL has optimized the PQP to accelerate testing timelines as part of a larger update to the PV Module PQP. The revised test protocols allow PVEL to generate faster results without compromising data utility or integrity.

News item from PV Evolution Labs (PVEL)



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