PV ModuleTech: The need for accurate performance measurements


Recently, PV-Tech took the opportunity to catch up with Erik Bentschap Knook, Chief commercial officer at Eternalsun Spire and a key partner at the forthcoming PV ModuleTech 2019 in Penang.
We talked about some of the new industry trends in module manufacturing and technology, and how Eternalsun Spire has been working to address these trends. 

What have been key industry trends in the sector this past year and how has Eternalsun Spire addressed these trends?

Erik Bentschap Knook: “A major key trend this year is that the industry is becoming more aware of PV module performance outside of “Standard Test Conditions”. Temperature related and short term degradation effects like LID/ LeTID get much more attention from PV manufacturers. This is mainly driven by the downstream market which is quickly becoming more quality aware. Especially, temperature related performance parameters like temperature coefficients gain more importance as they have a strong effect on yield in different regions. Measuring temperature coefficients accurately has been a challenge for PV industry and recent round robins show up to 10% uncertainty. In some cases, every 10% of measurement uncertainty leads to 1% of yield loss every year.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Our mission is to contribute to the growth of solar industry by providing the most accurate performance measurements to reduce the industry’s safety margins. Through smaller safety margins, less money is left on the table, which will be key to protect profit margins in this price competitive industry. Over the past year, Eternalsun Spire developed a dedicated testing process to decrease measurement uncertainty of temperature coefficients by 50%.”

So, how can Eternalsun Spire decrease measurement uncertainty of temperature coefficients and how is that different for high efficiency modules?

“Uncertainty in measuring temperature coefficients is driven by solar simulator light quality and unstable, non-uniform temperature control. With the introduction of high efficiency modules, many sun simulators are inadequate to measure the power output accurately. They have too short of a light pulse and do not have the UV and IR spectrum that is required. On top of that many traditional set-ups cannot control and especially stabilize temperature. The two effects combined lead to very inaccurate results.  

At Eternalsun Spire we developed a system and testing method with the goal to decrease measurement uncertainty of temperature coefficients. Unlike traditional test set ups, we introduce an accurate way to measure temperature coefficients, achieving reduction of safety margin by half. The set up combines the Spire Single Long Pulse laboratory flasher with a temperature control chamber which is placed on top of the flasher. The system has 270ms Single Long Pulse duration and extended spectrum from 300nm to 1200nm according to IEC 60904-9 ed.3 to test performance parameters of existing and future high efficiency modules. The temperature chamber enables 10-85C temperature range with -/+ 1C temperature uniformity, which is extremely uniform and can be held exactly stable.”

How is Eternalsun Spire involved in bifacial PV module testing & characterization?

“At Eternalsun Spire, we have two active members within the IEC TC82 WG2, in charge of IEC 60904-1 standard regarding IV measurements of bifacial PV devices and we have actively contributed to its development by conducting scientific research on single side illumination vs double side illumination test methods for bifacial commercial size PV modules. We are also participating in an inter-laboratory Round Robin for bifacial PV module measurements at OdinSpire, our bifacial-ready test laboratory in the harbor of Rotterdam.

In addition, we recently published a joined article with CEA INES with insights on how to accurately measure the efficiency of bifacial HJT modules. We are proud that leading R&D institutes have recently decided for our single long pulse technology, as it allows them to do a real measurement of even the highest efficiency technologies, including bifacial PV, without need of correction methods required for shorter pulses, which add uncertainty to the maximum power measurement.”

How can Eternalsun Spire help module buyers make informed purchasing decisions?

“We suggest module buyers to challenge the manufactures and become more aware of the quality of the selected modules. Eternalsun Spire can provide the tools and application knowledge to energy companies, EPCs, installers to do supplier and product evaluation for their PV projects. For this purpose, we set up OdinSpire, a quality inspection PV lab in Rotterdam harbor in the Netherlands. At OdinSpire we support module buyers to test the quality and power output of imported modules before installation. We perform a wide range of quality testing services such as performance at STC, temperature coefficients, energy rating, LeTID.” 

We noticed you made a slight name change. Can you elaborate why?

“We decided to merge the two brand names as we are the combination of an innovative, young company – Eternal Sun – and an industry recognized name with broad experience company – Spire Solar. This combination creates a unified environment to keep developing innovative and high quality solutions for our customers.”

What are you looking forward to hearing about at PV ModuleTech 2019?

“PV ModuleTech is a great platform to meet with key players from the PV module value chain. The conference gives us the opportunity to discuss with a wide range of industry experts and further improve our solutions for quality control of existing and future PV module technologies.”


There is still time to attend the PV ModuleTech next week. Click on the link here to register to attend.

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.

Read Next

June 18, 2024
Pacific Partnerships has gained development rights for one of Australia’s largest solar PV projects, with 700MW of generation capacity.
June 17, 2024
German quality assurance and testing centre TÜV Rheinlandwill present a traceability testing service for modules at Intersolar Europe 2024.
June 17, 2024
Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation’s 150MW solar farm is the first project approved via Western Australia’s ‘Green Energy Approvals Initiative’.
June 17, 2024
Solar engineering software company PVCase has launched a project planning platform designed to cover the entire construction and planning process for PV projects.
June 17, 2024
Enel Green Power Australia confirmed its AU$190 million solar-plus-storage project in NSW, Australia, will commence construction in Q3 2024.
June 14, 2024
PV Tech's coverage of the SNEC 2024 trade show continues on day two, kicking off with a discussion with GCL System Integration.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia