[PV Panel Quality] Sharp's Accelerated Degradation Test (1) (page 2)

Test based on data of 30-year application

2014/08/02 21:44
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Incorporates German VDE quality standard

Sharp established a new quality evaluation standard for solar power panels in September 2013. The standard incorporates the quality evaluation standard established by VDE Testing and Certification Institute, an international third-party certifier for the safety of electrical products. VDE is the largest electrical/electronic technology organization in Germany and establishes the national standards of that country, issues safety certifications and performs tests in respect to electrical products.

The special standards of VDE are based on the long-term reliability test program that VDE developed jointly with the Fraunhofer Institute and the German solar battery industry. The standards are stricter than official quality evaluation standards, and only five companies throughout the world, including Sharp, have been approved by the VDE standard.

The standard specified by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is one of the international quality evaluation standards for solar power panels. Sharp established its unique "accelerated degradation test" method utilizing the solar power panel data obtained from the 30-year-old panels at Tsubosaka Temple as well as the IEC test items for product development.

In accelerated degradation tests, stress is applied to products to reproduce the deterioration in a short period of time that may occur over a long period. Sharp established the quality evaluation standard that satisfies both the IEC standard and the VDE standard by adding the test items specified by VDE to its own accelerated degradation test. If the products are evaluated based on the standard, they can obtain the VDE certification (Fig. 3).

"It is difficult to determine the quality and long-term reliability of solar panels, unlike the conversion efficiency," said Hideki Yoshioka, who is in charge of quality and environment at the Solar System Division of Sharp. "Even if we explain that we perform a unique evaluation test that is stricter than the IEC test, it may sound self-approving. Therefore, we obtained a certificate from an international third-party certifier for the special quality evaluation standard of Sharp, to ensure a sense of security in respect to the quality and long-term reliability."

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