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Production monitoring in PV: Principles, methodology and deployment

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By Thibaut Lemoine, General Manager, Senergy Testing Solutions Ltd (STS)

With lower returns on investment in PV projects, financial institutions have an ever-increasing demand for risk mitigation. Project stakeholders are asked to provide evidence of risk-management actions and have to look for ways to guarantee an adequate level of quality for their systems. Product certification, although necessary to help qualify the design of a product, does not provide a guarantee that mass production will achieve the targeted quality level; it has therefore become necessary to find reliable methods to assess the quality of PV systems on a large scale. Production monitoring, as part of a global quality plan for a PV system, is a cost-effective way to implement real-time checks in the manufacturing facilities, providing reassurance for stakeholders and helping manufacturers to improve their manufacturing processes. This paper details the principles behind production monitoring, the methodology used and how to deploy a production-monitoring project.

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Looking back, 2014 was a year of convalescence for a PV industry still battered and bruised from a period of ferocious competition. End-market demand continued apace, with analysts towards the end of 2014 predicting the year would see between around 45 and 50GW of deployment. That has begun to feed through to the supplier end of the market, with all the main manufacturers announcing capacity expansions in 2015 and further ahead.

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