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The report is the first comprehensive assessment of top-performing modules that are tested for reliability, performance, and quality across 18 different indicators.

The aim for the release is to support solar panel manufacturers in the development of high-quality products, and solar project developers, financiers, and end-users who seek high-quality panels.

Within the data, two manufacturers Longi Green Energy Technology and Panasonic have been recognised for demonstrating high achievement across indicators in all three categories.

Of the 18 different criteria evaluated, the report focuses on eight important criteria that best represent the three categories of reliability, performance, and quality.

RETC tested more than 2,500 individual modules, from more than 150 different module families, made by 46 different suppliers.

For reliability, the solar PV Module Index reviews the results of module tests such as damp heat, dynamic mechanical load, and potential induced degradation. High achieving modules withstood abuse from these tests and saw minimal degradation in power output, versus their peers.

Performance tests measure a module’s efficiency in power generation and see how they do in actual real-world conditions, such as high temperatures, and early morning and afternoon sun conditions.

“RETC is releasing this index to help the entire solar industry better evaluate modules based on important attributes beyond efficiency and cost,” said Cherif Kedir, RETC President and Chief Executive Officer. “It’s worth noting that high achieving quality module manufacturers put their products through an exhaustive set of accelerated reliability tests, while other manufacturers choose to select only a few of the tests to characterise their products. We congratulate the high achievers in each of the categories, and look forward to working with all manufacturers to continue to demonstrate their product excellence.”  

 “As the industry has matured, solar professionals may want to focus on the cost per watt, but modules with the lowest price are not always top values in performance, quality or reliability,” said Chris Beitel, Head of Business Development at RETC. “By focusing on all three categories, module manufacturers can have confidence their products are well-equipped to perform across the board, while downstream players can feel assured the products they are selecting are engineered to deliver as expected.”

The tests were completed at sites in Fremont, California and Pahrump, Nevada in the US; Los Andes, Chile and in Cagayan de Oro City, in the Philippines.