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Magazine Archive 04 – 2022

Tapping the data trail

US-based energy tech company Enphase Energy appears to have overcome the adversity it faced in the mid-2010s, when it was grappling with competition from string inverters and slower growth in the residential segment. Now that rooftop solar is hot again, Enphase’s co-founder and chief product officer, Raghu Belur, sat down with Tristan Rayner to discuss the microinverter pioneer’s approach to quality in a time of rapid change and the growing utility of connected devices.

The problematic fairy tale of ‘Peter PAN’ files

The financial risk of investing in photovoltaic systems is increasing. This is because the yield forecasts on which profitability audits are based are increasingly too optimistic. One reason for this could be the handling of so-called PAN files, reports pv magazine Deutschland’s Marian Willuhn.

Avoiding PV performance killers

GIZ, Germany’s development agency, has partnered with India‘s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to follow up on its successful “kW-to-kWh” study, which has become a quality benchmark for MNRE’s projects in India. PI Berlin acted as lead consultant on the project, and Asier Ukar, senior consultant and managing director of PI Berlin S.L., shares some of the key conclusions.


Floating PV is now an established and rapidly growing niche, but its special requirements demand special standards. Jan Mastny, head of sales at Studer Cables AG, says the company’s new floating-specific cable is just such a solution, and the judges for pv magazine’s 2021 Award agreed, as they chose the innovation as a runner-up in the BOS category.

PV connector myths and a call to action

Solar connectors are easily overlooked when PV systems operate as expected. But when they fail, they can cause fires that jeopardize safety and property. SunPower’s recent $30 million PV connector replacement announcement is only the latest entry in a long list of connector safety issues. And while some events are well-documented, many remain confidential. Todd Karin of testing experts PVEL, and David Penalva of technical advisory Heliovolta, recently teamed up to create a guide to protect PV plants from connector failure, and shared some of their key points with pv magazine.

Science or art? Defining the performance of bifacial modules

For some developers of ground-mounted PV, bifacial modules are already the default technology. The slight cost increase is often outweighed by an increase in energy yield. And yet “agreeing” on the right energy yield of a PV plant has always been the most heated debate between developers, investors, lenders, and technical advisers. Everoze partner Christophe Campistron looks at both sides.

Cutting construction concerns

PV plant construction comes with a lengthy list of quality assurance points and involves multiple parties that may not all be working from the same script. By offering the full set of construction services, from access and civil works to module mounting and cabling, Sofia and Berlin-headquartered Sunotec is able to monitor quality at every stage. pv magazine spoke with Kaloyan Velichkov and Bernhard Suchland, Sunotec’s joint CEOs, to discuss quality in PV plant construction, and the company’s recent experience working on a remote site in Mali.

What’s new in warranties

PV modules are producing more energy, for longer – and enhanced product and performance warranties are backing them up. Of course, as is so often the case in solar, it’s what is inside the module that counts.

New technologies, new risks: edge ribbon cracking

As the PV module market shifts toward higher-efficiency modules, with half-cut cells and multi-busbar designs with round wires, it is important to continue to consider the reliability risk associated with changes in module design. While performing EL inspections in the field, a new type of microcrack associated with the combination of these technologies has been spotted, known as edge ribbon cracks. They have been seen to grow during shipping and installation. Claire Kearns-McCoy and George Touloupas of CEA offer a closer look.

Don’t call it a comeback

While Europe was previously a leader in the manufacturing of solar cells and modules, the plans falling into place this year already represent a scale never before seen on the continent. And they’ll need that scale if Europe is to meet expected demand for new solar over the coming decades, without relying heavily on imported products and components. Many of the technologies at the center of these plans are brand new as well; pv magazine looks at a few of the innovators planning to scale up alongside more mainstream players, and how these fit into plans for a fully fledged European PV supply chain.

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