Reliable Flash Results

Flash Tests – module performance test made by the SID – AG
The output of a solar module is made by an STC-measurement.

STC are the Standard Test Conditions with the following parameters:

  • Irradiation 1000 W/m² (or 700 W/m² , 400 W/m² etc.)
  • Homogeneous module temperature of 25° C
  • - Sunlight spectrum of AM 1.5

The result of measurement is the characteristic curve. It is determined the exact module performance.

Operating a AAA Flashers
Reliable measurement results are obtained by measurements with a very accurate, certified AAA-Flasher.
Therefore the modules need to be removed, properly packaged and sent to the Institute. The modules must be transported properly and vibration-free in any case, standing in suitable shipping packaging. For all modules, the power rating is made in Wp (Watt-peak).
The output of a solar module depends on the radiation intensity and other environmental conditions. It was defined an internationally accepted standard for power measurements. The peak power (peak) is determined at STC (Standard Test Condition). On request of the customer, the actual temperature of each Module flash can be documented with an IR image.
By inhomogeneous temperature distributions on the solar module can cause measurement errors. These errors can be excluded by careful measurement.
SID-AD has set itself the task, always exclude this source of error of inhomogeneous temperatures, all flashed modules have a homogeneous temperature distribution.

Why must module Flashes be made in an institution??
Worldwide an solar capacity of approximately 300 gigawatts-peak are currently installed, in Germany there is a capacity of over 40 gigawatts installed.
That's over 1,2 Billion (1 200 000 000) solar panels which feed electricity into the public grid.
Of these installed PV modules only a vanishingly small number of estimated has been tested for performance.
The performance test is part of the internationally accepted test standard for photovoltaic modules IEC 61215 for crystalline and IEC 61646 for thin-film modules. The certification of the modules is done according to these standards.
Compliance with this minimum standards fulfill normally all today in Europe traded modules.
To obtain this certificate, it is necessary that the manufacturer signs in to an approved test institute (eg TÜV Rheinland).
The Institute takes from current production a certain number of modules. These modules are tested according to the actual IEC regulations. This test is done once. After successful testing, the manufacturer produces and sells its modules with certified IEC-standard, there is no further retest required.
All module manufacturers promise in their product information to supply a nominal output (value X) with a production-related tolerance (value Y).
The PV modules are normally delivered with flash protocols of the factory flasher. These form the basis for the warranty of the manufacturer. Nearly all manufacturers provide warranties for its solar modules, which goes beyond the legal warranty.

Arguments for a performance assessment in a Solar Institute
A number of conditions must be observed to make the module-flash legally valid.
The client has the security only, if he orders the services of a solar institution.
There, the flash results are created correctly, free from instructions an free of commercial interests. For private operators of flashers or flashers of module manufacturers, this requirement is not met.
There are known and published cases, where complete module batches were checked. Then the performance values of manufacturers were revised downwards.

Incorrect information on the module typeplate
There are the SID-AG two manufacturers known which have given knowingly wrong module output. So for example, 195 Wp modules labeled with 180 Wp. The flasher data were corrected analog down.
The producers concerned were aware of the poor quality of their modules. It was expected that they have in the first months and years of operation a large power loss.
With the correct power rating the modules would become a cas for the performance guarantee, with the specified lower power output warranty claims could be averted.
This behavior of some market participants shows that a reliable determination of the performance of a representative selection of modules is inevitable.
This is especially true for large investments.

Mobile measuring systems on site
There are numerous companies and experts in the industry, which perform module testing on site. There are measuring vehicles, measuring container, converted vans and handsets. The SID-AG may also perform such measurements on site. With the measurement results can be obtained an initial assessment of the modules.

Measurements on site have disadvantages, they are estimates. Similar results are obtained with a radiation meter and measuring instruments for current and voltage. These measurements miss their goal to provide reliable, durable values. It remains largely ignored, if the measurement environment and the modules are hot or cold during the on-site measurements. However, knowledge of the environment is very important in order to minimize errors.
It is suggested that the measurement results are correct, the electronics compensates for inaccuracies. These reassuring statements are false.
We want to alert you to possible bad investments. Numerous contracts were measured by us again.

In summary, one can make the following statement:
With the result of a performance measurement made in a solar institute can be made statements which can not be questioned in legal disputes or at the court.

Below you will see some photos with abnormalities on or in solar modules . Here a performance test is recommended.