PVQAT - Internaltional PV Quality Assurance Task Force

Manufacturing Consistency: Task Group 1

The manufacturing consistency efforts led by the International Photovoltaic Quality Assurance Task Force have focused on developing a guideline for factory inspections and quality assurance (QA) during module manufacturing.

Task group 1 completed a guideline that has now been published as IEC 62941. The guideline is focused on PV manufacturing processes and procedures aiming to ensure manufacturing quality and the consistency of the produced PV modules to the warranties given by the producer. The ISO 9001-2008 standard is considered a starting point for compliance with the new requirements.

Current Progress

IEC 62941 "Guideline for increased confidence in PV module design qualification and type approval was published in January 2016. A report summarizing the motivation and describing the alignment of the draft with ISO 9001 can be found on line. (See also "Related Resources," below). A summary of the work was also presented at the 40th IEEE PVSC in June 2014 (see below).

The IEC formed IECRE to define a process for certifying PV systems to ensure appropriate component quality and appropriate system design, installation, and operation. IECRE has completed much of what will be needed to consistently implement IEC 62941. PV manufacturers are encouraged to begin using IEC 62941 and PV customers are encouraged to request that the manufacturers comply with IEC 62941. IEC 62941 is being translated into Chinese in preparation for being adopted as a Chinese national standard.

Additionally, the process for certification has been described in a series of Operation Documents 405 (OD-405, Parts 1, 2, and 3), which are being discussed by IECRE and are expected to be published in November 2016.

Training materials to increase consistency of implementation of IEC 62941 are also being developed.

Related Resources

Updated Proposal for a Guide for Quality Management Systems for PV Manufacturing: Supplemental Requirements to ISO 9001-2008—This technical report provides a guideline for PV module manufacturers to produce modules that, once the design has proven to meet the quality and reliability requirements, replicate such design at an industrial scale without compromising its consistency with the requirements.

The PVSC paper description of this work is available as part of the IEEE PVSC proceedings: "Requirements for Quality Management System for PV Module Manufacturing" by Yoshihito Eguchi, Govind Ramu, Sumanth V Lokanath, Masaaki Yamamichi, Sarah Kurtz, John Wohlgemuth, Eiji Yamada, Michio Kondo.

Task Leaders

Yoshihito Eguchi — NRE, representing Japan and leading the IEC work
Govind Ramu — SunPower, representing the Americas and leading regular teleconference
Zhou Wei — Trina Solar, representing China

Complementary efforts are underway to support module durability, system verification, and communication of results.