Solar industry colleagues may be interested to learn more about solar technical due diligence, especially in the wake of the recent New York Times’ story Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels (May 29, 2013). I was interviewed by the author of this article.
As the CEO of a solar technical due diligence firm, I am fortunate to have a unique vantage point on solar panel quality.
There is a wide spectrum of sophistication, quality and performance when it comes to technology products — from cameras to computers, from mobile phones to motorcycles.
Solar panels are no different. Based on the hundreds of solar panels that have gone through rigorous reliability testing in our laboratory, the vast majority of modules have proven to perform very well.
The solar panel is coming upon its 60th birthday — initially called the "Bell Solar Battery," one of those first devices is still functioning today.
Solar technology is mature and proven. As the industry rapidly scales up, a greater emphasis is being placed on raw materials and quality control.
While the underlying technology is quite mature by other metrics (scale, institutional investment, third-party ownership), the industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade.
Fortunately, savvy investors understand that a few quality issues in a nascent industry that’s growing at double digit rates does not represent the broader technology or investment opportunity. PV Evolution Labs and other providers of technical due diligence have emerged to support the growing need for mitigating technical risk.
Our decades of experience enable us to screen for potential quality problems. As a result, investors are successfully maximizing their return on investment by screening out solar panels with quality issues.
Every company and industry experiences quality problems. That’s why there are vehicle testing labs and crash test dummies.
We’ve seen numerous car recalls, and most recently, compromised bolts on the San Francisco Bay Area’s new Bay Bridge. Should we stop building cars and bridges?
The solar industry offers a sound solution to our world’s growing electricity needs and carbon reduction targets. Smart investors are very bullish on the future of the solar industry because they see how the underlying technology performs every day. Addressing a few quality issues will teach us how to improve our diligence practices — and ultimately enable our industry to deliver the best product possible.
Lead image: Quality control via Shutterstock
The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.