In December, the Center of Excellence for Energy hosted Govindasamy (Mani) TamizhMani, PhD, the director of the Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory at Arizona State University. Dr. Mani has more than 40+ years of experience in research, testing, certification and teaching experience in solar photovoltaics (PV), batteries and fuel cells, and has published 200+ papers. His current research focuses on the reliability, durability and lifetime prediction of PV modules using indoor accelerated test data and outdoor field test data.

The workshop, held on December 12, 2023, attracted 159 participants. Issues affecting solar PV system performance were discussed, including irradiance influences, temperature and spectrum, tilt angle and sun tracking, and the impact of soiling. Dr. TamizhMani addressed the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) highlighting capital costs and drawing comparisons between conventional and renewable approaches. Solar PV system reliability was also reviewed with discussions around inverter and module reliability, failure/degradation modes, detection testing tolls, and lifetime prediction. Environmental issues were addressed including waste volume estimation and recycling regulations.

The next day, 79 engineers, researchers, faculty, and graduate students with expertise in PV systems convened for Dr. TamizhMani’s PV Testing Standards and PV Product Certification Requirement Course. With Dr. TamizhMani support, participants explored different testing standards for all components of the PV system, including PV module qualification testing as per IEC 61215 and IEC 62108, safety testing per IEC 61730, and nuances of retesting. The stages of PV product certification were examined as well as the accreditation requirements for certification bodies and manufacturers providing participants a holistic understanding of the certification process.