Solar test lab PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) released a new hail test for its PV Module Product Qualification Program (PQP) and announced that future testing will occur at the company’s new headquarters in Napa, California.
The facility doubles testing capacity over PVEL’s Berkeley and South San Francisco locations and will replace both labs when it opens in early 2022.
PVEL said the hail stress sequence was added to the PQP to address concerns from insurers and asset owners about the ability of PV modules to withstand severe hail impacts. To design 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 test results from in-lab experiments.
Development of PVEL’s new hail test was informed by insurance claim and asset performance data from kWh Analytics. PVEL also solicited feedback from asset owners, developers, and insurers.
“As a global industry, we must consider natural catastrophes like hailstorms in the context of a changing climate. It is time to future-proof solar projects around the world for new weather patterns that are difficult to predict yet impossible to ignore,” said Kevin Christy, head of Innovation and Operational Excellence, Americas of Lightsource bp.
He said that for solar assets in central U.S. states, new test protocols are needed that will allow module buyers to “truly understand those products’ limits of durability against potentially damaging hail.” Christy said that over the next decade the installed PV capacity in high-risk states is projected to more than quadruple.
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