The quality of PV Modules and associated system components varies greatly with different manufactures. However, most smallscale PV owners especially residential consumers are unaware of the manufacturer of their PV system components, and subsequently the quality standards to which it was built. They are dependent on Implementing Agencies/Safety Inspectors etc. to verify the quality of components and workmanship. Therefore it becomes really important to understand the need for quality and implications if it is compromised.
While cost is a major factor affecting the decision to purchase a PV system, the quality of the overall system is an extremely important component that is often overlooked by consumers in exchange for a more cost-effective PV system.
Quality is usually characterized by two attributes:
Quality affects the lifespan and return on investment of the system, which is vital to ensuring a successful solar PV system operations for its lifespan.
- Solar PV modules are designed to last 25 years or more.
- It is therefore essential that all system components and parts, including the mounting structures, cables, junction boxes, distribution boxes and other parts also have a life cycle of at least 25 years.
- Therefore all components used in the PV system should be of the highest quality.
Purpose of quality assessment
Aim of quality assessment is to ensure the completeness, quality and workmanship of the system. This principally includes:
- Inspection of system components
- Verification of compliance with specifications and codes of practice
- Evaluation of quality of workmanship
- Verification of safety and protection
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