It is well known that there is huge competition in the photovoltaic industry. It is particularly evident from the Chinese producers, who are putting European manufacturers of photovoltaic modules in a very difficult position by practicing price dumping. However, Europe is not completely defenceless against Asian PV competitors. Quality is an area where European PV producers can successfully compete with Chinese manufacturers. Taking into account the specific nature of the PV industry, Bruk-Bet Solar decided to expand its portfolio with two additional certificates, which would demonstrate the high quality of the used components and the proper manufacturing process.
Extreme Thermal Cycling
Testing according to IEC 61215:2005 involves placing the PV module in the climate chamber, where the aging speed is tested. This test allows to determine how photovoltaic modules will behave for several years in normal weather conditions. The purpose of this test is to determine the ability of the PV module to withstand the effects of sudden temperature changes (between 85°C and -40°C).
„In this test, the module is subjected to rapid temperature changes. Through temperature effects, the coefficients of thermal expansion of individual elements of the photovoltaic module show hidden drawbacks, such as: incorrectly soldered busbars, broken cells, delamination, drop in performance and insulation resistance,” said Marcin Milczewski, Product Quality and Development Manager at Bruk-Bet Solar.
The standard test involves 200 such rapid temperature changes. However, Bruk-Bet Solar, aware of the quality level of its products, commissioned a renowned certification center to carry out 400 temperature cycles. The Bruk-Bet Solar modules have successfully passed this extreme test.
Extreme Damp Heat
The Damp Heat test, like Thermal Cycling, is also part of IEC 61215. According to independent studies, more than 50% of the PV modules do not pass this particular test, making the Damp Heat test procedure the most difficult and “aggressive” for the photovoltaic module during the certification process.
The purpose of this test is to determine the resistance of the module to moisture penetration at elevated temperature (85°C, relative humidity 85%). This test mainly shows the quality of the photovoltaic module lamination.
„As a result of the moisture penetration, it is possible to observe defects of the tested module – corrosion, delamination, potential defects in soldering of busbars or incorrect installation of the junction box. Even if we do not detect serious defects after the Damp Heat test, the module is subjected to such loads that its mechanical strength decreases significantly,” adds Marcin Milczewski.
According to IEC 61215, Damp Heat testing is performed for 1000 hours, however, Bruk-Bet Solar’s PV module has spent 2000 hours in extreme humidity and temperature conditions. Thus, the certificate is a confirmation of high quality of both materials and the production of PV modules.