Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Solar Analytica
Assessment Criteria (solar modules) 2.0.

Solar Analytica analyses the differentiating elements of solar modules in the global marketplace essential to purchasers. A measurable investment decision comprises five primary categories and is accompanied by influencing sub-categories within each primary category. The Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules) considers aspects essential to a broad spectrum of global module purchasers while referencing technology trends against relevant market averages and innovations.

Averages of combined sub-categories formulate the nominated scores within each category through either calculated or technical data verified by 3rd party technical due-diligence institutes. No discretionary values are open to the analytical compilation within the Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules). Therefore, the values compare to the industry’s above-average, average, and below-average specifications on the volume measured. If you would like to review a previous version of the Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules), scroll to the bottom of this page or click here.

Version 2.0 and above of the Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules) uses a revised 100-point format for improved scoring variances. Considering such, the Solar Analytica Module Assessment Criteria factors the average market value (the middle) as 50 ranking points, more precisely acknowledging technical specifications above and beyond in diverse areas up to 100 ranking points where the highest known criteria for ranking analysis exist.

The Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules) analyses available data of sub-categories within the following primary categories:

Roadmap: Considered, yet temporarily omitted, Affordability as a primary category can not be accurately factored on an international platform such as Solar Analytica due to; wholesale price differences, retail package costs and regional inconsistencies all relative to different Affordability considerations. A variable calculator will be made available within each report as part of the roadmap to determine Affordability more accurately.

Solar Analytica Ranking point range and Classifications for each category and sub-category defined;

Rank
Class.
Discription
95 – 100
Above Avg (Cat5)
Above Average Category 5 classification. The pinnacle of commercially available, certified specification (Outstanding).
85 – 94
Above Avg (Cat4)
Above Average Category 4 classification. Specifications considered elite against the industry average (Elite).
75 – 84
Above Avg (Cat3)
Above Average Category 3 classification. Specifications considered superior against the industry average (Superior).
65 – 74
Above Avg (Cat2)
Above Average Category 2 classification. Specifications considered very good against the industry average (Very Good).
55 – 64
Above Avg (Cat1)
Above the industry average specifications (Good).
45 – 54
Average
Average industry specifications by compiled volume.
35 – 44
Below Avg (Cat1)
Below the industry average specifications. Or specifications which are absent/ unverified by a certified testing institute.
25 – 34
Below Avg (Cat2)
Below Average Category 2 classification. Or specifications which are absent/ unverified by a certified testing institute.
15 – 24
Below Avg (Cat3)
Below Average Category 3 classification. Or specifications which are absent/ unverified by a certified testing institute.
5 – 14
Below Avg (Cat4)
Below Average Category 4 classification. Or specifications which are absent/ unverified by a certified testing institute.
0 – 4
Below Avg (Cat5)
Unlikely for recently manufactured technology.

Rank: Solar Analytica ranking points nominated per solar module property attributing toward an individual sub-category. Class. (Classification): Solar Analytica classification of the nominated score range. Description: Just a description. 

Structure where limited  Sub-category divisions exist: Where an industry average classification exists as the peak classification of a sub-category, an Above Avg (Cat5) classification is nominated. Greater than average points are nominated to sub-category average specifications limited by sub-category divisions. This modelling has been revised throughout all sub-categories and tested across diverse solar module types within the Solar Analytica algorithm to reflect a fair result for products in the context of the platform. Further details are not available due to the proprietory nature of the Solar Analytica ranking algorithm.

Within the nominated primary categories are sub-categories of common factors that influence a broad spectrum of solar module investment decisions. Below are the sub-categories (and content gauge, example only) that contribute to the Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules) primary categories;

Design

Cell Type. Determining the Cell Type identifies the base energy harvesting material incorporated within the solar module design, from which is considered aging to most innovative on a commercially available scale. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge;  P-Type monocrystalline. Content description; Cell Type – P-Type monocrystalline boron-doped. Classification; Above Average (Cat2).

Cell Configuration. Assisting enhanced electron flow in variable conditions, a solar modules cell configuration identifies aging to innovative module formations on a commercially available scale. SAMPLE: Sub-category; 120 half-cell. Content description; Cell Configuration – 152 mm wafer: 120 half-cell. Classification; Above Average (Cat1).

Contact/ busbar.  Certain Contact/ busbar designs facilitate reduced resistance towards improved electron flow within the solar module design. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 5-ribbon busbar. Content description; Contact – 5-ribbon busbar. Classification; Average.

Enhanced. Enhancing the solar cells interconnecting configuration improves the solar modules overall energy harvesting ability, minimising associated losses. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; TOPCon (Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact), Content description; Enhanced – TOPCon (Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact) Classification; Above Average (Cat5).

Encapsulation (superstrate/substrate). The critical nature of the Encapsulation design affects both the longevity and performance of a solar module, ensuring the integrity of the electrical circuit over time. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; Glass-laminate (White, black or transparent Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate – EVA) NO manufacturer defined. Content description; Encapsulation – 3.2mm, Anti-Reflective, Tempered Glass front superstrate, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate substrate. NO manufacturer defined. Classification; Average ranking points.

Certification. Certification levels verify that defining elements incorporated within the overall solar module design is tested to a nominated standard; selected marks carry greater credibility towards specified values. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; CE “conformité européenne” (European conformity). Content description; Certification – CE “conformité européenne” (European conformity) not independently verified. Classification: Below Average (Cat1).

Awards. Recognised industry awards increase credibility and trust towards a solar module brand or particular product design. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; Intersolar award for innovation. Content description; Awards – Specific recognition; Intersolar Award for innovation (year). Classification; Above Average (Cat5).

Durability

Mechanical loading (Static uniform mechanical load test). The purpose of a static mechanical loading test is to determine the ability of the module to withstand a minimum static load and still pass the marking criteria of the IEC standards. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC61215-2 MQT 16. Formula: Test load = γm * Design load. IEC – Safety factor (γm) is at least ≥ 1.5. IEC – min Design load 1 600Pa. The final measurements are the test repeats of MQT 01 Visual inspection & MQT 15 Wet leakage current test. Content description; Mechanical loading – 2400 Pa. Classification; Average.

Positive loading.  Similarly to the static mechanical load test, Positive loading will determine a modules ability to withstand loads applied to the front face of the module and still pass all marking criteria of the IEC standards. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC61215-2 positive loading MQT 16. Manufacturer design of the panels Positive front loading will differ from the Negative back loading. Final measurements are the test repeats of MQT 01 Visual inspection & MQT 15 Wet leakage current test. Content description; Front wind loading – 2400 Pa. Classification; Average.

Negative loading. Similarly to the Positive loading, Negative loading will determine a modules ability to withstand loads applied to the back face of the module and still pass all marking criteria of the IEC standards. SAMPLE: Sub-category guage; IEC61215-2 positive loading MQT 16. Manufacture design of the panels Positive front loading will differ from the Negative back loading. Final measurements are the test repeats of MQT 01 Visual inspection & MQT 15 Wet leakage current test. Content description; Rear wind loading – 2400 Pa. Classification; Average.

Damp heat test A Damp heat test will determine the modules ability to withstand the effects of long-term penetration of humidity. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC61215-2 MQT 13. Test Temp: (85 ± 2) °C. Relative humidity: (85 ± 5) %. Test duration: 1000hrs. Final measurements are the test repeats of MQT 01 Visual inspection & MQT 15 Wet leakage current test. Content description; Damp heat test – 1000-hrs. Classification; Average.

Thermal cycle test. This test will determine the modules ability to withstand thermal mismatch, fatigue and other stresses caused by repeated changes of temperature. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC61215-2 MQT 11. Temp range: (-40 ± 2) to (+85 ± 2) °C. Temperature rate of change: 100 °C/h. 10min dwell time at each temperature max and min limits. The cycle time shall not exceed 6 hr unless the module has such a high heat capacity that a longer cycle is required. IEC standards require minimum 200 cycles. Final measurements – After a minimum recovery time of 1 h at (23 ± 5) °C and a relative humidity less than 75 % under open-circuit conditions, repeat the tests of MQT 01 Visual inspection & MQT 15 Wet leakage current test. Content description; Thermal cycle test – 200-cycles. Classification; Average.

PID resistance. Potential Induced Degradation. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC TS 62804 MQT 13 and Clause5.5 Voltage stress test. PID detection test methods consist of; 1. MQT 01 Visual inspection, 2. MQT 15 Wet leakage current test, 3. MQT 13 Damp heat test, 4. Clause 5.5 Voltage stress test, 5. MQT 15, 6. MQT 01. No known improved qualification. Content description; Potential induced degradation – Resistant. Classification; Above Average (Cat5).

Salt mist resistance. Salt mist resistance describes the modules ability to withstand salt mist exposure depending on the location and exposure category. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC61701. C1 – (testing per this document not necessary). C2 – (testing per this document not necessary) Dist. from saltwater ≥ 10km & % Time of Wetness (ToW) <25 %. C3 – Dist. from saltwater ≥ 10km & ToW ≥ 25 % or 2 to 10km & < 25%. C4 – Dist. from saltwater 2 to 10km & ToW ≥ 25 % or < 2km & < 25%. C5 – Dist. from saltwater < 2km & ToW ≥ 25 %. CX offshore & ToW(N/A). Different test methods applied according to IEC 60068-2-52 depending on the location. Content description; Salt mist resistance – IEC 61701 (Severity 3) C3. Classification; Above Average (Cat1).

Ammonia resistance. Ammonia resistance describes the modules ability to withstand Ammonia exposure and remain up to operating IEC standards. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC 62716. Test section 1; Hours – 8h including heating up, NH3 concentration – 6 667 ppm, Relative humidity Saturation at about 100%. Test section 2; Hours – 16h including cooling, NH3 – 0 ppm, Temp 18°C to 28°C, Relative humidity max. 75%. 1 cycle = 1 + 2 test section. Duration = 20 cycles (480 h). Content description; Ammonia resistance – 20 cycles (480-hrs). Classification; Above Average (Cat5).

Sand and Dust. Sand and Dust tests are performed to measure the modules ability to prevent sand and dust ingress. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC 600068-2-68. Test method LC1 (Blown dust and sand Recirculating chamber) or method LC2 (Free blowing dust). IEC 60068-2-68:1994 – Dust/sand type; Olivine size <75 gm, concentration 1 g/m3. Quartz size <150 gm, concentration 3 g/m3. Feldspar size <850 gm, concentration 10 g/m3. Applied test conditions – LC1: Chamber temp: 40°C ~ 45°C; Humidity: < 25%; Speed: 20m/s ±2m/s; Duration: 240 min for front side / 240min for rear side. LC2: Speed: ≈ 9m/s ±2m/s; Duration: 240 min for front side / 240min for rear side. Content description; Sand and dust resistance – IEC 60068-2-68 – LC2 6h. Classification; Average.

Hail Impact. Hail impact tests verify that the module is capable of withstanding the impact of hail according to relevant standards. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; IEC 61215 & 61646. Mass: 7.3-grams ±5%, Diameter: 25mm ±5%, Speed: 23m/s ±2%, Energy: 1.9J, Temp: -4°C ±2%. Content description; Hail resistance – Diameter: 25mm, Mass: 7.3-grams, Speed 23m/s. Classification; Average. 

References;

Efficiency

Module efficiency. More relevant than cell efficiency, module efficiency provides an understanding of a solar module’s electrical circuit as a whole and the ability to convert photons (at Standard Test Conditions) into electrical energy from the nominated surface area. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 18 – 18.9%. Content description; Module efficiency (max) – 18%. Classification: Average.

Temperature coefficient. The temperature coefficient of a solar module determines the instantaneous performance efficiency deterioration at temperatures differentiating from 25°C (Standard Test Conditions). SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; -0.40%/°C. Content description; Temperature coefficient (Pmax) – -0.40%/°C. Classification; Average ranking points.

Power Tolerance. A positive power tolerance determines that a solar module’s output at Standard Test Conditions should be between 0Watts and a positive value greater than the nameplate value. A negative power tolerance is anything below the nameplate value. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 0Watts to +3Watts. Content description; Power Tolerance (max) – 0~+3 Watts. Classification; Average.

NOCT Power Density (W/m²). Similarly to Module Efficiency, power density NOCT (Nominated Operating Cell Temperature) more accurately reflects W/m² (Watts per squared meter) in nominal real-world conditions, identifying the best use of the available surface area, considering more than the efficiency alone. Power density at NOCT factors the solar module area and the cell’s temperature beyond Standard Test Conditions (STC). SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 145 – 149 W/m². Content description; NOCT Power Density (max) 149 W/m². Classification; Average.

Reference;

NOCT Power Density Internal post >

Performance Guarantee

1st-year degradation. All solar modules will surrender to an initial stabilisation period when exposed to the sun. What must be understood is how much degradation (guaranteed by the manufacturer at STC) will impact the performance of the solar module after the 1st year of operation in the field. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 5.0% Power Output degradation for the first year. Content description; 5.0% Power Output degradation for the first year. (PV Modules will be at least 98% of the Minimum Peak Power rating for the first year). Classification: Average.

Annual degradation. Similarly to 1st-year degradation, Annual degradation in the form of Photodegradation affects the performance of a solar module over time. What must be understood is how much degradation (guaranteed by the manufacturer at STC) will impact the performance of the solar module each year after the 1st year of operation in the field. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 0.7% p.a (Power Output will decline by no more than 0.7% per year for the following 24 years after the initial 1st year).  Content description; 0.7% p.a (Power Output will decline by no more than 0.7% per year for the following 24 years after the initial 1st year). Classification; Average.

Performance guarantee period. The justification of the Performance Guarantee Period factors both the Annual and 1st-Year Degradation rate combined to determine the guarantee period. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; Year 1 degradation period plus 24-years linear guarantee period, 25-years. Content description; 25-years (Power Output will be at least 80% of the Minimum Peak Power rating on the final year). Classification; Average.

Performance guarantee assurance. Outside of localised legislative guarantee obligations, Performance guarantee assurance determines the length a manufacturer will go to support a module in the field should a performance guarantee issue occur to honour the guarantee. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; Parts only. Content description; Performance guarantee assurance – Parts only. Classification; Average.

Product Guarantee

Product guarantee period. The amount of time from installation for which a manufacturer will guarantee the overall solar module, beyond photodegradation, for a defect in the field when installed to manufacturer installation guidelines. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 10-years. Content description; Guarantee period – 10-years. Classification; Average.

Product guarantee assurance.  Outside of localised legislative guarantee obligations, Product guarantee assurance determines the length a manufacturer will go to support a module in the field should a product guarantee issue occur to honour the guarantee. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; Parts only. Content description; Product guarantee assurance – Parts only. Classification; Average.

Manufacturer established. Where bankability ratings are not available to the market, an establishment period can offer security to investors. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; 10-19 years. Content description; 10-19 years. Classification; Above Average (Cat1).

Authorised installer network. Beyond industry endorsements, solar modules possess unique features, not common knowledge offered by general industry training. An authorised installer network can provide greater assurance towards guarantee security. SAMPLE: Sub-category gauge; No or not identifiable. Content description; Authorised installer network – No or not identifiable. Classification; Average.

Manufacturer bankability. Often used as an alternative gauge for guarantee security, Manufacture bankability assesses a solar module manufacturers financial strength for projects based on set governing parameters within a nominated quarter. Sub-category gauge; PV moduletech bankability ratings CCC, CC or BNEF listed. Content description; Manufacturer bankability – PVModuletech bankability rating CCC. Classification; Above Average (Cat1).

Reference;

PVTECH Research External site >
Bloomberg NEF External site >

Affordability

Technology aggregate. Omitted.

Market pricing index. Omitted.

Solar Analytica road map: Embedded regional (variable) Affordability calculator based on Solar Analytica aggregate estimated 2022/23.

Versions

If comparing products of different assessment criteria versions, it may be essential to compare alterations to previous rankings or notes to gauge the importance of change. Archived Solar Analytica Assessment Criteria (solar modules) versions are located within the Archive tab below.

First digit reference:  Major scoring alteration.

Second digit reference:  Minor scoring alteration.

Third digit reference:  Text or value alteration.

Current version:  2.0.

  • Solar Analytica Assesment Criteria (solar modules) Version.1.3.2.
  • Solar Analytica Assesment Criteria (solar modules) Version.1.2.2.

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