March 3, 2011
The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) held a free Webinar presentation and a discussion on a proposed Solar ABCs policy for PV Module Power Rating Requirements. The Webinar discussed the background, the need for a policy, the policy itself, and defined the primary potential users of the policy.
One of the primary goals of this policy is to provide information for consumers to make informed decisions. Without requiring a power rating tolerance policy, photovoltaic modules will continue to enter the domestic marketplace that may have a significantly lower power output than the module's rating indicates. This results in reduced performance of installed PV systems that will not meet consumers' expectations. If over-rating of modules continues to be an acceptable practice, the overall acceptance by the general population will be diminished and the overall movement towards solar energy jeopardized. In addition, without power rating data at various low/high irradiance and temperature conditions, the energy collection predictions for installed PV modules and systems will not be accurate.The Webinar also discussed the evolution of the manufacturing and test processes, the evolution of the "third party" test laboratories, and the evolution of the markets for photovoltaic modules. The Webinar also attempted to define the differences in requirements of the international and the United States markets. The policy will address requirements for module tolerances and how the policy can be used in procurement of photovoltaic modules in the United States marketplace. The policy may be of interest to photovoltaic manufactures, distributes, residential buyers, industrial buyers, power producers, system designers, incentive providers and governmental regulatory agencies.