PV Evolution Labs expands operations to serve in-depth PV inverter reliability testing

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Independent test lab, PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) has expanded its PV inverter reliability testing operations with a newly renovated South San Francisco laboratory to handle its PV Inverter Product Qualification Program (PQP) business and its PV Inverter Scorecard report that was first published in May, 2019.

“PVEL's PQP supports technical due diligence and risk mitigation by helping buyers identify inverters and power electronics that meet their long-term expectations for energy yield, product life and functionality,” commented Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PVEL. “Our data drives granular energy yield and O&M models for solar projects of any scale, ultimately increasing investor confidence in an asset's economic performance.”

PVEL said that previous inverter testing had been undertaken at its Berkeley, California headquarters but the new advanced inverter test centre had included equipment for plug-and-play evaluations of 600V, 1000V and 1500V products, spanning the entire spectrum of the market from a 320W microinverter to a 1500V string inverter.

“In the past 12 months, we have observed inverter failures accounting for nearly 80% of lost production in PV power plants before the interconnection point and a major portion of unscheduled maintenance costs,” noted Joe Kastner, CEO of Radian Generation. “Understanding inverter quality and supply chain constraints are key to controlling and understanding these costs. Inverters are critical to the financial performance of solar power plants and PVEL's independent testing is a great tool for understanding inverter risk and informing procurement decisions.”

System-level testing of ancillary equipment including rapid shutdown devices, optimizers and communications products are also to be carried out at the facility, according to PVEL. 

Thomas Goetzl, vice president and general manager of Keysight Technologies' automotive and energy solutions, a leader in electronics laboratory testing equipment said, “PVEL deployed the most advanced power electronics testing and measurement technologies available for the upgraded lab. As one of the world's leading suppliers of electronics testing solutions, we can say that PVEL's revamped South San Francisco facility is among the most sophisticated inverter labs in the solar industry.”

PVEL also expects to be able to conduct advanced evaluations of a product's ability to interface with the local utility grid in compliance with recent IEEE and California Rule 21 mandates. 

The second edition of PVEL’s ‘PV Inverter Scorecard’ report had been delayed, due in part to COVID-19 working restrictions, although the testing firm has not indicated when the second report will be published. 

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