VDE Americas, First Solar implement new standards

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VDE Americas, a wholly owned subsidiary of certification body VDE Institute, and First Solar on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership that offers technical bankability and risk reduction for PV power plant operators, investors and financial entities.

First Solar says it has for years relied on module-level testing and manufacturing processes that went well beyond currently established international standards. The company adds that it has now set a benchmark for the highest levels of quality and reliability for entire PV solar power systems by working with third-party independent certification body VDE.

"At First Solar we are committed to providing the lowest risk and highest quality products in the solar industry," said Azmat Siddiqi, First Solar’s senior vice president of quality and reliability.

"This expanded relationship with VDE documents rigorous quality assurance requirements at the PV plant/system level, and establishes our position as a leader in technical bankability."

The "VDE Quality Tested" mark for PV power plants was designed by VDE together with its German applied research institute partner Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

"The testing portfolio delivers significant advantages in four key areas: electrical and mechanical safety of the system; system performance (through a highly accurate energy yield report); proper system operation; and independent verification for investors, lenders, insurance companies and other stakeholders by highly competent and reputable independent experts," the companies said in a joint statement.

"VDE has been engaged with First Solar for many years in the certification of modules and manufacturing processes. We’re pleased that First Solar will be leading the industry by implementing our new VDE Quality Tested mark for their PV solar power systems," added John Sedgwick, president of VDE Americas.

"VDE and our partner Fraunhofer ISE are committed to reducing the technical risk often associated with PV power plant investments. We will continue to work closely with industry players to help raise the standard for the solar sector."