Taiwan has long been an important manufacturing hub for PV cells. Increasingly, its manufacturers have moved into module production and there are a range of BoS component suppliers also active.
It is now becoming a high-growth market, as the country ramps up its solar installations. There are some doubts as to whether the 20 GW goal can be met, and the country’s climate, dense population centres and geography are throwing up significant hurdles.
Given this combination of factors, Taiwan was the ideal location for the final of pv magazine’s Quality Roundtable series, with the 8th iteration of the event being held this year as a part of the PV Taiwan conference program. It was hosted in partnership with initiative sponsor, DuPont.
Jay Lin, from PV Guider, was co-Moderator and he outlined a series of examples where PV component or system design has fallen short of what is required.
“The first time we had a big typhoon, a lot of panels were blown away and the insurance companies decided not to insure PV projects at that time,” said Lin. “But later we improved the design and installation methods, so now everything is getting better.”
Alongside extreme weather events like typhoons, Taiwan’s high level of rainfall and humidity also brings with it challenges.
“High humidity is also a challenge for PV panels and much rain also causes flooding. People should do geographic analysis before installation, that is very important,” said Lin.
Preventing water ingress in modules and also power electronic components was another feature of the 8th Quality Roundtable at PV Taiwan, and Lin said that material selection and module design are important factors to be taken into consideration. He noted that high levels of UV exposure can lead to encapsulate material degradation and eventual module failures.
Taiwanese manufacturers were represented at the Roundtable Event and a presentation by TSEC took attendees through some of the quality control procedures to which the company subjects its modules. CY Yu, an Assistant Vice President of R&D for TSEC reported on the results of a seven-day salt water submersion test that it carries out on one of its modules, noting that in Taiwan, modules will likely be installed closer to the coast than in some other locations.
Oakland Fu, DuPont’s Photovoltaic & Advanced Materials Technical Manager said that as there after different approaches to ensuring quality, finding the right partners is key.
“Different people, different players, have different views for these quality issues,” said Fu.
“You have to work with the best partners in the industry to find ways to control the quality, improve the quality, while to reduce the cost.”