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Energy Services Giant DNV GL Scoops Up PV Evolution Labs

How do you know if the equipment you have selected for your PV project will perform the way it says it will for the next 20 years? More importantly, how do you convince the financial institution that you are hoping will fund your project that you’ve made the right equipment choices? The answer is very simple. Make sure that the PV modules you’ve specified for the project have been independently evaluated and certified by a third-party, such as PV Evolution Labs (PVEL).

PVEL has been in business since 2010, independently evaluating PV modules for durability and quality. In 2012, CEO Jenya Meydbray’s whitepaper on PV module quality, “Giving Transparency to the PV Module Supply Chain,” won Paper of the Year during Renewable Energy World North America’s Conference.  You can see Meydbray discuss his company on video here.

As the solar market continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the services that PVEL and others like it provide will be in high demand, which is precisely the reason behind today’s announcement by DNV GL that it has acquired PVEL.

DNV merged with GL last September and the combined company is now one of the “top three certification bodies in the world,” according to its website.  In terms of renewable energy, DNV GL has been more of a player in the wind industry (in addition to its 150 years of work in the ship and offshore industry and the global oil and gas industry). About four years ago, however, DNV GL entered the solar market with its acquisition of BEW Engineering.  And while solar is still a small part of the 18,000-person company, the acquisition of PVEL brings the number of dedicated solar employees from 70 to about 85, according to Ray Hudson, Head of the Solar Department at DNV GL.  Hudson said that DNV views the current growth the solar industry as similar to what took place in the wind industry in the 1990s. "And the intent is to be a leader in providing services for solar as well as wind,” he said.

Meydbray explained that the long-term objective for PVEL was always to find a partner. He said that the acquisition will change nothing operationally for his company. “The industry is difficult to predict and evolved a bit quicker than we were initially anticipating,” he said.  “But the industry transition is happening now,” said Meydbray and so “now is the time to define the standards that will define the next decade” of solar.

Meydbray and Hudson feel that the match is a solid one. “From our point of view where we have been offering independent engineering services for financiers and owners engineering for developers and owners… having the capability that PVEL brings is exactly complimentary,” said Hudson.

“This was very much a round peg in a round hole,” said Meydbray.

Moving from a small independent company to become part of a large global organization is not always an easy transition, acknowledged Hudson who went through the process himself when BEW Engineering was acquired by DNV, but the benefits outweigh the integration challenges, he said.  “DNV is very much a global company,” said Hudson.  “We have solar offices in Europe and Asia…and we think we can help with the globalization of PVEL services.”

Overall, DNV’s interest in PVEL is just one more positive indicator that the solar industry is poised for steady growth long into the future. “From both sides we agree that solar is one of the big growth areas for the next decade and beyond,” said Meydbray.

Lead image: The PVEL solar test site in Davis, California.

Below: PVEL’s environmental chambers simulate a range of environmental conditions to accelerate module aging.


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