Record number of manufacturers and failures in Kiwa PVEL’s Module Reliability Scorecard

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Hail damage on a solar panel.
In its 10th edition of the Module Reliability Scorecard, Kiwa PVEL added a new hail testing category. Image: Kiwa PVEL

A record of 53 manufacturers and 388 module types have been named “Top Performers” by Kiwa PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) in its 2024 Module Reliability Scorecard. But the annual report also recorded the highest percentage of module failures in its 10-year history, with two-thirds of manufacturers notching up at least one test failure.

Now in its 10th edition, Kiwa PVEL’s scorecard presents findings in PVEL’s PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP), scoring solar modules following the results of various testing procedures, including thermal cycling, damp heat, hail stress sequence – with a new Top Performer in that category – backsheet durability, LID/LeTID sensitivity and more. In total, there are 10 different categories assessed.

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This year’s Scorecard features 20 manufacturers that appear as Top Performers for the first time, while only nine of the 53 manufacturers listed as Top Performers appeared in all categories as such. And only four specific models from of these manufacturers were Top Performers in every test category.

Despite the increased number of module manufacturers being named as Top Performers, 66% of module manufacturers have experienced at least one test failure. This is the highest recorded percentage, said Kiwa PVEL. Failures at the bills of materials (BOM) level have also increased from 32% in 2023 to 41% in 2024. These include failure types of junction box-related issues, power loss and an increasing number of modules with delamination issues.

“Our 2024 Scorecard showcases strong results across a diverse group of solar module manufacturers, which reflects the excellence and growth we have observed in PV manufacturing in recent years,” said Kevin Gibson, managing director of Kiwa PVEL.

“For over a decade, we’ve tested assumptions about solar module reliability and performance while continuing to refine our methodology as the industry continues to innovate with new technologies and module designs. We’re proud that we’re still setting a high bar for manufacturers and providing downstream buyers with the crucial information they need to make educated procurement decisions.”

New hail category

For the 10th edition of Kiwa PVEL’s Scorecard, the company introduced a new category for hail testing, which has been an ever-growing interest in the industry, not just for modules but also with trackers.

The PQP’s Hail Stress Sequence (HSS) surpasses IEC/UL minimum hail requirements testing PV modules against a range – from 35mm to 55mm – of hail impacts.

The test focused on glass breakage with glass backsheet less prone to glass breakage than 2.0mm heat strengthened glass-glass modules.

Breakage rate of 50mm hail on glass-glass modules was of 89%, compared to 40% for glass backsheet modules. For glass-glass modules, the rear glass broke 40% of the time for modules that have experienced glass breakage.

The complete scorecard has been made available in both an online digital format and via downloadable PDF at www.scorecard.pvel.com.

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