Quality Assurance, short for quality assurance, in English is QA (Quality Assurance), generally refers to the expression of confidence in product performance within a certain period of time, qualified and excellent, so that their products are easily accepted by consumers and reduce consumers’ purchase anxiety. And a kind of promise made to buyers regarding product service life VS quality.
For photovoltaic modules, 25-year life expectancy and 10-year warranty have become the norm. But just recently, a photovoltaic module manufacturer called out a 50-year warranty.
Old egg, who changes the rules of the game?
American photovoltaic module manufacturer Violet Power has announced that its American-made IBC photovoltaic module technology provides customers with a 50-year solar panel warranty.
Headquartered in the United States, Violet Power is a photovoltaic module manufacturing start-up. Its first so-called state-of-the-art integrated manufacturing plant will be located in Moses Lake, Washington, opposite the REC Silicon crystalline silicon plant and adjacent to several glass manufacturers.
According to reports, Violet Power intends to use high-efficiency IBC solar cells, adopt a double-glass module manufacturing process, design cell-to-module “flexible circuits”, and use thermoplastic packaging technology to achieve a 50-year warranty for photovoltaic modules.
50 years! It is almost three times the average level of today’s photovoltaic industry.
In the “Find Best Solar Panels For Your Home” survey conducted by American energysage.com (a media specializing in solar product surveys) in July, the PV module warranty information is as follows:
(Note: The warranty period corresponds to the company’s typical sales of a certain model product)
The survey found that the typical model warranty period of most photovoltaic module manufacturers in the US market is 10-12 years, and only five companies have a 25-year warranty, with an average of 13.45 years.
Assuming that 13.45 years is the industry average, Violet Power’s warranty commitment has been tripled by 10 years.
Recalling the product technology introduced by the company’s general manager, the product uses:
-Double glass (Glass-Glass): with super high water vapor barrier
-FFE emission junction (front floating emitter)
-Screen-printed and fired-through metallization
-152.4mm N-type monocrystalline silicon wafer
-“Flexible circuit” from battery to component
-Choose thermoplastic packaging technology
Cattle fork, stride meteor with warranty period
The 50-year warranty is not only old eggs, but also cattle fork, but it is not shocking, because photovoltaic modules have never stopped the pace of being more reliable and more durable.
In the 1990s, photovoltaic modules basically guaranteed a service life of at least 5 years. At that time, the power of the modules was still in the “X10 watt era;
After entering the 21st century, photovoltaic modules produced in small quantities and applied on a large scale have been used for more than 10 years and have undergone various IEC certifications. The industry generally believes that there is no problem with a 25-year life span and a 10-year warranty;
In 2013, BYD successfully developed transparent silicone encapsulated double glass components, and was the first to call out “4.30-40 years of life, annual attenuation of less than 0.3%, and zero PID”. When the industry generally challenges 25 years of service life, it bravely shouted 40 years, but its warranty has not exceeded 30 years!
In 2018, the high-efficiency IBC solar cells and modules produced by American SunPower in Asia (Philippines and Malaysia) provided a 30-year warranty for its Maxeon series modules, which is currently the highest warranty period in the industry.
Boost, but untested
Although Violet Power has called out a 50-year warranty, according to reports, all this is still on paper.
Charlie Gay, head of Violet Power, said that its Zebra battery technology comes from the cooperation with German R&D center ISC Konstanz and its head Radovan Kopecek and his team. It is a low-cost IBC battery structure, some of which are sponsored by the US Department of Energy. Developed under multiple R&D plans, it has a conversion efficiency of over 24%. Its production technology can improve the packaging loss from the battery to the component, reduce the life span, and have higher moisture resistance. Charlie Gay believes that these are the core of the product’s game-changing rules, which can be converted into the lowest cost of electricity (LCOE).
When asked how the company will support the game-changing 50-year warranty requirements, Gay stated that the company will complete its product testing under the PVEL Product Qualification Program (PQP) to provide a laboratory basis for the 50-year warranty.
Gay introduced the company’s first production base in Moses Lake with a goal of 300MW ZEBRA IBC cell and module production capacity, because the scale of the production line is the most cost-effective. It is planned to produce 500MW of cells and modules by the end of 2021, and a comprehensive production of 1GW will be carried out soon.
In other words, Violet Power’s 50-year warranty has not yet mass-produced products, and has not been tested by a third-party laboratory. It is just a vision and expectation for IBC battery technology.
PQP is a comprehensive and rigorous testing system that can evaluate the reliability and performance of photovoltaic modules, and is known for its annual “Photovoltaic Module Reliability Scorecard” report, which is the benchmark for module reliability testing. However, laboratory testing alone is obviously not enough. Outdoor demonstration and even the actual outdoor life is the ultimate confidence and guarantee of the 50-year warranty.
Pretending to be so aggressive
Without component products, no laboratory testing, just relying on the IBC concept and battery technology, why did Violet Power “risk” for 50 years? Is it just because the words are not amazing?
According to PV Tech’s report, “PV Tech talked to Charlie Gay about how the start-up intended to disrupt the PV manufacturing industry with solar panel technology that could financially justify offering a 50-year warranty”.
Is the part in bold translated as: can financially prove the technology that provides a 50-year warranty?
In the 1990s, the price per watt of photovoltaics was too high to make photovoltaic investment possible from the financial model, so a European salesperson brainstormed “25-year service life” in order to make the return on investment more reasonable .
In the following 30 years, the entire industry chain of the photovoltaic industry has been working hard to prove the 25-year service life, and the aging test standards for the entire industry, from batteries and auxiliary materials, to packaging materials, to inverters, were born. And because materials are constantly changing, outdoor applications and demonstrations will never keep up with the pace of technological updates.
Fortunately, Tianyou Photovoltaic, most of the photovoltaic power plants put into production in the early stage are operating stably, and some have been more than 25 years. Although materials and technologies have changed with each passing day, the 25-year life expectancy has been basically recognized and accepted by the industry.
After that, even if someone proposed 30 years, it was just to highlight that their products were more reliable. SunPower, which has been cultivating photovoltaics for decades, only called out a 30-year warranty for its IBC modules.
But Violet Power has just called out a 50-year warranty, and the corresponding life span may be…10,000 years?
In an interview between Gay and PV-Tech, it was accidentally revealed that Violet Power’s IBC components needed to “financially prove the technology that provides a 50-year warranty.”
Obviously, the cost of Violet Power’s IBC components is too high. Not only is the cost of Violet Power’s IBC components high, which supplier that manufactures components in the United States is not expensive? SunPower has been manufacturing its IBC components in Southeast Asia for so many years.
In order to reduce costs, Violet Power will locate the factory opposite REC to reduce the cost of crystalline silicon; it is close to the glass manufacturer to reduce the final glass material transportation cost in the module. However, under the US government’s years of solar energy policy and trade double-reverse and 201 guarantees, even if Violet Power tried all means to reduce costs, it was still not enough.
Thus, Gay pointed out: “What Violet Power does is to be different in quality.” Since the quality is different, the warranty period can of course be up to 50 years, so the financial balance is achieved.