PVEL debuts new hail test for PV modules, moves HQ to Napa, California

Hail strikes PV module

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) has released a new hail test for its PV Module Product Qualification Program with future testing to occur at PVEL’s new headquarters in Napa, California. The facility represents 100% growth in testing capacity over PVEL’s Berkeley and South San Francisco locations and will replace those labs when it opens in early 2022. 

“From hail to super-sized PV modules, the reliability concerns of solar investors and asset owners are continually evolving,” commented Jenya Meydbray, CEO of PVEL. “At PVEL, we must evolve in turn. With our larger, consolidated new facility, recent testing updates and strong partnership with the global Kiwa Group, PVEL is within reach of our long-term vision to provide rigorous, comprehensive bankability testing for every type of PV module, inverter and battery – no matter the size, power class, or field application.”

PVEL’s PQPs for PV modules, inverters and batteries include comprehensive, constantly updated testing protocols for extended reliability and performance. They guarantee high-quality solar and storage systems, both in terms of technical performance and cost. The hail stress sequence was added to the PQP to address concerns from insurers and asset owners regarding the ability of PV modules to withstand severe hail impacts. During the design of the hail stress sequence, PVEL used data from nearly 1 GW of hail-damaged projects that it has evaluated in the field, as well as data from in-lab tests.  

“As global installed solar capacity breaks every established record and solar PV modules are deployed to the furthest reaches of the globe, we will continue uncovering risks that can only be overcome with new data,” commented Jason Kaminsky, Chief Operating Officer of kWh Analytics. “Our team is thrilled to collaborate with PVEL and incorporate the PQP insights into our new property insurance product. PVEL’s data informs the industry how to deploy durable and insurable PV modules in every location that needs clean power.”

PVEL developed its new hail test based on insurance claim data and asset performance data from kWh Analytics. In addition to asking downstream partners, PVEL also solicited input from asset owners, developers, and insurers. All hail stress sequence reports are complimentary for members of PVEL’s downstream partner network. Companies that sign up as PVEL’s partners utilize PQP data for technical intelligence related to project development and finance, including product benchmarking, vendor management and equipment selection.  

“As a global industry, we must consider natural catastrophes like hailstorms in the context of a changing climate. It is time to futureproof solar projects around the world for new weather patterns that are difficult to predict yet impossible to ignore,” commented Kevin Christy, Head of Innovation and Operational Excellence, Americas of Lightsource bp. “Particularly for solar assets in central U.S. states, we need new test protocols that will allow module buyers to truly understand those products’ limits of durability against potentially damaging hail—especially given that over the next decade we expect to see the installed PV capacity in high-risk states more than quadruple.”

The PV Module PQP has also been optimized to speed up testing timelines as part of a larger update. The revised test protocols permit PVEL to generate faster results without compromising data utility or integrity.  

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