When it comes to selecting solar panels for distribution or installation, there are many options available. We, as a module manufacturer, have prepared a complete review about PV module purchasing and how to choose the right supplier.
How to read the datasheet of a PV module?
First of all, when selecting a supplier, you will first look at the product characteristics. For this, you will analyze the datasheet of the PV modules. Let’s see in detail each element of a datasheet.
Figure 1 – EGE Datasheet
The title on a datasheet will give you the main information about the PV module:
=> Product name
=> Power Range
=> Monofacial/bifacial configuration
=> Type of cells (main cells type are M6 (166mm), M10 (182mm), and M2 (210mm))
=> The technology of the cells (Perc, TOPCon, etc.)
=> Number of cells
=> Color of the back sheet and frame: can be Silver Frame, Black Frame, or all-black configurations
Figure 2 – EGE Datasheet
This graph shows the degradation of the PV module power over time, which results in a loss of efficiency. These values are calculated through testing and are displayed on the datasheet in comparison with market standards.
Figure 3 – EGE Datasheet
Usually, the certifications of a PV module are displayed on the datasheet. There are several types of certificates. Some of them are related to product quality, import/export, or factory management (ex: ISO).
A complete certificate is a-must in the selection of a PV module supplier. Here are the main certificates you should look at: TU, UL, Salt Mist, PID free, CE, Amnonia corrosion, Sand and dust…
Electrical Data at STC
Figure 4 – EGE Datasheet
STC (Standard Test Conditions) are the testing conditions under which a PV module is rated by a PV module manufacturer. This standardization enables a quick comparison of PV modules throughout the industry.
STC are ideal conditions: panels facing a peaking sun without clouds under a 0-2 degrees air temperature. These are not real-life conditions. This means that this value must be taken carefully. Two panels with the same rated power (ex: 550W) might behave very differently in a real installation.
In addition to power output, STC voltage, and current are also important information, as they are used for string and equipment design.
=>Power output (Pmax): maximum power delivered by the module which means the highest combination of Voltage x Amps.
=> Power tolerance: the actual measure of the power output of the module compared to Pmax. You should always choose a solar panel with positive tolerance.
=> Module efficiency: percentage of energy produced compared to energy received by the PV module.
=> Maximum power voltage (Vmp): voltage value when the module is at its maximum power output.
=> Maximum power current (Imp): amperage value when the module is at its maximum power output.
=> Open circuit voltage (Voc): voltage available from the PV module when there is no external load connected. That’s the maximum voltage that the solar panel can produce, that’s why this value is used to know how many panels you can plug in series.
=> Short circuit current (Isc): current through the module when the voltage is null. This value is used according to the maximum amps a device connected to the panel can handle (ex: inverter).
Electrical Data at NOCT
Figure 5 – EGE Datasheet
NOCT stands for Nominal Operation Cell Temperature. Indeed, these conditions are closer to the real world and show how a PV module can perform when installed outside.
NOCT values are generally only usefull for PV module comparison. Two modules with the same SCT power output may have different NOCT power outputs. This is why this value is important.
Figure 6 – EGE Datasheet
These are the general information about the PV modules that the engineers use for the measurements of the installation and to identify the best mounting system to use.
Additional drawings will show the mounting holes, grounding holes, and drainage holes for integration purposes.
Figure 7 – EGE Datasheet
Figure 7 – EGE Datasheet
=> Temperature coefficient: percentage of power output lost by a solar panel for each degree of temperature increase. It impacts the power generation of PV modules in hot conditions.
=> Operating temperature range: range of temperatures in which the PV module can operate safely.
=> Maximum system voltage: the maximum voltage that the system must not exceed.
=> Max series fuse rating: the maximum current that the PV module can withstand.
Datasheet is not everything
Once you have evaluated the datasheet and found the PV module you need, there are many other factors to take into account. Indeed, a datasheet is a clear indication of general information about a PV module, but it is not enough to select a supplier.
Not only a long time of existence shows that the manufacturer may have experience in quality products and standards, but it also shows the supplier will last for many more years. This is important as a PV module insurance run for 12 or more years.
The datasheet doesn’t describe the raw materials entering in the production of the PV modules, but there are critical to the durability and safety of the product. The efficiency of the solar cells will impact the efficiency of the module, while the glass, EVA, and frame will impact the durability of the PV modules.
That’s why the manufacturer should only use top-quality materials and be able to give you the complete list when inquired.
The manufacturing of PV modules requires precision in each step of production to avoid any issues in the use of the products. When you deal with a module manufacturer, they should be able to describe their production process in detail (the machine used, the different steps, time, and conditions).
There are 3 different types of quality control:
=> IQC (Incoming quality control): tests done on the raw materials before they enter production.
=> IPQC (in-process quality control): tracking and tests done on the products while there are being produced.
=> OQC (outgoing quality control): tests done on the panels when the production is finished.
For example, Eco Green Energy does flash tests and EL tests on each module and sends a complete QC report to the client before shipping.
Services & support
In addition to the product itself, services and support provided by the supplier are also important for a successful long-term collaboration, among them:
=> What marketing support will the supplier provide to help you sell your products faster?
=> Do they have a qualified technical department to assist you with your projects and needs?
=> How long time does it take for the manufacturer to handle the claim and how do they resolve them?
About Eco Green Energy
Eco Green Energy is a high-tech leading French enterprise that produces high-performance solar photovoltaic modules. With a full range of photovoltaic products, we have ensured energy system solutions since 2008.
Currently, our installed capacity reached more than 2GW+ thanks to our extended 100+ distributor networks in more than 70+ Countries worldwide. It also allows us to deliver 50+ projects with the latest innovative technologies.
We pursue to deliver Qualité Française in each detail, our PV modules go from 375W to 605W (M12 12BB) with up to 21.40% efficiency. Meet Eco Green Energy – the new Smart PV Module Pioneer which is revolutionizing the solar market meeting high European standards.
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