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  • Writer's pictureTiana Starks

Solar Panel Quality

Updated: Jul 13, 2020


All solar is not created equal

At SolarWorld, we think about solar energy all day long. We live and breathe it. We contemplate how it can power every aspect of our lives. And through our experience, we’ve come to believe: ALL SOLAR IS NOT CREATED EQUAL. Our energy is different because we’re different. Our experience, knowledge and trusted partnerships have helped deliver renewable, reliable power to American homes and businesses for nearly 40 years. We have a vision to create a sustainable economic future for America and we have the experience to make it happen. Our difference comes through in the quality of our product. In fact, we’ve built numerous quality steps into every stage of our product development and manufacturing. We call this proprietary quality process The SolarWorld Standard. The SolarWorld Standard It’s not just a quality-assurance program. The SolarWorld Standard elevates solar to a standard unmatched by any other solar company in the world. Throughout every stage, we hold our products, our partners and ourselves to rigorous benchmarks. Beginning with product development, our team keeps a constant eye on real-world conditions and how they affect our panels’ performance. Our R&D group adheres to testing guidelines that far exceed industry requirements. We apply stringent manufacturing controls. All of the materials we use in our products come from suppliers proven to deliver first-rate quality. We use a highly automated process to produce unparalleled precision in assembly, which is constantly supervised by computers and double-checked by real people. This level of attention ensures that every product we deliver meets the SolarWorld Standard every single time. The SolarWorld Standard has helped us build a track record of unparalleled success, proven by the fact that we’ve never had a product recall. Ever.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

We take care of every detail

So you don’t have to worry

Solar success begins with a simple question: Will you choose to commit to quality and reliability, or are you willing to settle for less? At SolarWorld, quality is more than a certificate. It is a way of life that has powered our success for more than three decades. ISO 9001 certification of our manufacturing facilities is just the beginning. Unlike companies that manufacture cell phones and laptops that are often tossed away with every new release, SolarWorld creates sophisticated technology designed to produce clean energy for at least 25 years in some of the harshest climates in the world. Here’s how we make it happen. The SOLARWORLD Standard Every SolarWorld solar system begins and ends with the highest levels of quality control, including stringent product management, extensive research and development, rigorous component selection and literally thousands of qualitycontrol data points through every stage of the manufacturing process.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]



Market analysis

Product design

Material certification

Failure mode and effects analysis

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Sample inspection

Long-term testing

Material qualification

Climate-chamber and field tests

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Performance assessment

Quality-assurance agreement


Incoming goods inspection

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row parallax_speed=”4″ parallax_x=”4″ parallax_y=”4″ css=”.vc_custom_1515681873481{padding-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]


QA – Quality Assurance

TPM – Total Productive Maintenance

IGI – Incoming Goods Inspection

Six Sigma – Process Optimization

SPC – Statistical Process Control

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2880″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” lightbox=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here are a few examples of how quality sets SolarWorld apart:

  1. Research and Development. Our R&D team comprises the sharpest minds in the solar industry. This is where our dreams for a new solar panel or technology begin—always with quality front and center.

  2. Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. FMEA allows us to identify and prevent potential failure modes within a product or system. FMEA is especially integral to the design of our products, introducing new technologies and the selection of raw materials.

  3. Statistical Process Control. SPC ensures our advanced automated manufacturing equipment and processes consistently produce the highest levels of quality—24/7/365. We collect thousands of data points every second, then analyze the information to ensure that our processes stay within tightly controlled parameters.

  4. Manufacturing Execution System. Combined with our advanced statistical process control, MES enables us to precisely determine a module’s power level, adding assurance that the power rating on the nameplate is what the module will produce.

  5. Full Automation. As the largest solar panel manufacturer in the U.S., we employ a sophisticated, fully automated manufacturing process supported by the most technologically advanced equipment available. To minimize potential damage, our cells move through our factory lines using state-of-the-art vacuum handling systems, touched by human hands only in final inspection. This sophisticated process is managed by equally sophisticated software and data-capture programs.

Only through careful application of this stringent process do our products meet The SolarWorld Standard and can then display the SolarWorld name.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Keen eyes

SolarWorld maintains high-quality standards for all materials used in our products. Our suppliers undergo a stringent selection process. We have quality assurance agreements with each SolarWorld supplier, who must provide documented proof of manufacturing quality and environmental standards. We even go so far as auditing our suppliers’ factories to ensure our high standards are met. Visual inspections by experienced technicians further examine every component that arrives at our production plant. Only the highest quality, most flawless materials enter the production cycle. SAFETY GLASS Our technicians closely inspect safety glass for physical properties such as warping, perpendicularity, dimensions and edge finish. Any glass with crystalline inclusions, bubbles or edge damage is immediately removed. Material properties and tolerances are precisely defined and closely matched. Materials that do not meet standards do not continue into production. Why such high quality standards? Our solar panels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, including heavy snow loads for at least 25 years. We use thick, low-iron glass and optimize the mechanical strength to ensure they can easily deal with extreme loads. Plus, a special anti-reflection coating maximizes efficiency and yield. BACK SHEET The quality of the back sheet and EVA are critical to the long-term durability of our solar panels, enabling them to withstand extreme weather conditions and UV irradiation. In fact, few suppliers in the world can meet our high criteria.\

Solar cells

Solar cells are the most important component of any solar panel, which is why we don’t trust their production to anyone else. We are completely vertically integrated, meaning we undertake all steps of production of our panels. We begin with raw polysilicon chunks, and melt them down to produce the perfect crystal that will eventually be turned into a SolarWorld solar cell.

Long-lasting strings

SolarWorld begins with perfect cells, then builds chains designed to last.

  1. Each solar cell is inspected visually for possible damage and tested for specific tension and efficiency

  2. Cells are classified according to color and power level, a step that most manufacturers skip. This increases aesthetic appearance of our panels while ensuring the highest power delivery. Mismatches in cell power lead to module energy losses.

  3. The next step is the stringing process. We connect the front of each cell to the back of the adjacent cell via three soldering strips in an automated process called three-busbar technology. We use three busbars to create redundancy: If one busbar stops working, then the cell will still produce power. The materials we use in the stringing process are carefully selected to ensure the integrity of the joints when they expand and contract with changing weather conditions

Flawless cell soldering is crucial to the quality of our solar panels, which is why we rely on a highly automated and monitored process. Each module has 2,016 soldering points, and it is critical that a precise amount of pressure is applied at each of these points. That level of precision is not achievable with hand-soldering, the standard practice of many other manufacturers. We then perform a regular peel test to monitor the soldering quality of the string production. Additional visual inspection of strings ensures there were no errors in cell print, cracks in the cells, mechanical damage or color deviations. At SolarWorld, each point is monitored with an automated camera system and spot-checked with additional testing to ensure the quality of all strings.

Secure solar cell matrix

The laminator contains a huge vacuum oven that bonds the laminate structure at high temperatures to a weather- and shock-resistant unit. Our experienced panel specialists carefully examine the resulting laminates. Only laminates featuring the front, back and edges in perfect condition pass to the next processing stage. We then check for stable and resilient bonding among individual laminate components with regular peel tests, which prevents the separation of individual unit components.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The laminate structure consists of the solar glass, two ethylenevinyl acetate (EVA) sheets, the solar cell matrix and the back sheet, which are all sandwiched together. The structure is carefully examined for cell cracks and possible contact interruptions using sophisticated imaging measurements. Our experts also check for even spacing between cell strings and for impurities in laminates. Only laminates in perfect condition are approved for further processing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2884″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” lightbox=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2885″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” lightbox=”yes”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The quality of EVA and the level of curing in the lamination process is paramount in the longterm durability of the module and protecting the electrical circuit made up by the cells. By monitoring our lamination process with SPC, we can ensure that the lamination of the EVA is on target for each module and that they will stand the test of time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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