Advanced Performance Testing

Advanced Performance Testing

Accurately measuring the performance of PV-modules under different environmental conditions is essential to predicting expected future energy output in the field. A number of commercial power plant projects have experienced under- or over-performance during operation, bringing into question the methods used for yield predictions, and specifically the accuracy of input values used for these predictions. This high level of uncertainty is detrimental for the planning and financing of projects, causing banks to increase their interest rates.

New standards have recently been released, such as the IEC-61853 Energy and Performance Rating Standard. Sandia National Laboratories has developed an advanced performance model (Sandia Array Performance Model – SAPM) which incorporates more realistic performance coefficients and increases the predictability of energy output calculations. Newer versions of PV planning systems (such as “PV-Syst”) incorporate these additional coefficients and promise better accuracy in performance predictions.

CFV has been working with Sandia, NREL and Fraunhofer to become experts in measuring performance coefficients both indoors and outdoors:

– CFV has the only commercially available flash tester in North America with a built-in thermal conditioning chamber that can reliably measure performance at different module temperatures. This allows CFV to accurately generate temperature coefficients and the complete IEC61853 temperature / irradiance matrix.
– CFV has been working with Sandia National Laboratories to transfer and commercialize the procedures for measuring the Sandia performance coefficients and is currently the only commercial test lab in the world that can offer this measurements service.
– CFV has developed a verification process that allows it to compare and verify indoor performance flasher measurements with outdoor on-sun measurements, thus improving the confidence in performance test results for difficult to measure technologies (such as thin-film or high capacitance modules).

CFV offers the following advanced performance measurement services:

  • Tests for CEC Listing
  • IEC 61853 Temperature/Irradiance Matrix, IEC 61853-2
  • PAN file generation with proprietary PANOpt® optimization software
  • Measurement of Sandia Performance Coefficients (Outdoor Thermal Coefficients, Electrical Performance Characteristics, Angle of Incidence Modifiers
  • Warranty /QC Testing for Power Plant Projects