PVEL expands inverter testing capabilities with new Inverter Test Center

PVEL PV module reliability scorecard

Photo of PVEL’s module testing facility.

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), the leading independent test lab for the global downstream solar industry, is blowing out its inverter product qualification program, opening an advanced inverter test center with 1500V capabilities at its newly renovated South San Francisco lab. The company is now evaluating the performance, reliability and functionality of string inverters and power electronics for solar projects of almost any scale under one roof. PVEL previously conducted inverter testing at its Berkeley headquarters.

“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,” commented 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.”

First established in 2014, PVEL’s PV Inverter Product Qualification Program (PQP) is a unique suite of tests that replicate field failures as well as operating behavior that reduces energy yield. The program evaluates inverters beyond certification safety tests and datasheet specifications so that buyers can accurately model performance under varying environmental and interconnection conditions.

“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.”

The following product qualification services are now available at PVEL’s state-of-the-art inverter test center:

• Customizable, plug-and-play evaluations of 600V, 1000V and 1500V products that span the entire spectrum of the market from a 320W microinverter to a 1500V string inverter.
• System-level testing of ancillary equipment including rapid shutdown devices, optimizers and communications products.
• Advanced evaluations of a product’s ability to interface with the local utility grid in compliance with recent IEEE and California Rule 21 mandates. These mandates support grid resiliency as renewable energy sources make up a larger portion of the total electric power infrastructure.

“PVEL deployed the most advanced power electronics testing and measurement technologies available for the upgraded lab,” commented Thomas Goetzl, vice president and general manager of Keysight Technologies’ automotive and energy solutions, a global leader in electronics laboratory testing equipment. “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.”

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