Quality Assurance Plan for a Solar Project


    Having a quality assurance plan for a solar project allows PV plant owners to minimize failures arising from an incorrect review of the Bill of Materials (BOM), inadequate or nonexistent control of processes and procedures, incorrect execution of the solar quality control program, insufficient staff training, or inadequate supervision of manufacturing, transportation, installation, and equipment operation.

    Consequences of such failures can include massive replacement of affected modules, resulting in significant additional costs related to delays in project planning and execution, reduced energy production from the modules, or increased workload for staff responsible for rectifying the defects.

    Quality Assurance and Quality Control in solar power plants shelter PV plant owners from the procurement and commissioning of non-reliable components to protect their profits. This is crucial in a context where profit margins are tight, there is high demand, and the module manufacturing process is complex. Under these circumstances, serious quality failures - whether systematic or random - can occur.


    How can quality control optimize project profitability?

    By implementing proper quality control and solar quality assurance procedures during the manufacturing, shipping, installation, commissioning, and operation phases of photovoltaic equipment, the risks outlined above can be mitigated.

    The cost of inspection and control work is significantly lower than the cost of defective equipment, which can negatively impact the production of photovoltaic solar installations and/or the safety of workers.

    It is worth noting that this type of inspection is practically a norm in the industry. Buyers of equipment who do not conduct these inspections run the risk of receiving products that do not meet the standards of their competitors.


    What are the main stages and quality control tests of a solar project?

    • Assistance in choosing and evaluating the best technology available for the project, including defining technical specifications and creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) for equipment.
    • Negotiation of the technical aspects of equipment supply contracts.
    • Audits during the pre-manufacturing phase.
    • Inspections and strict management of the Bill of Materials (BOM) in the factory.
    • Supervision of the manufacturing process.
    • Pre-shipment inspections of batches and BOM-validation tests in independent laboratories.
    • Tests upon arrival of the equipment at the project site.
    • Tests during the commissioning phase.
    • Tests during the operation phase.


    Are solar module tests performed, for example, before shipment and after installation on-site?

    Indeed, these are two of the most critical stages.

    Pre-shipment tests allow us to determine whether each batch of panels meets the requirements established in the supply contract. These tests include power tests, electroluminescence, visual inspections, and insulation tests, as well as more specific tests for BOM validation, such as Light Induced Degradation (LID), Light and Elevated Temperature Induced Degradation (LeTID), or Potential Induced Degradation (PID).

    In between these two stages is the post-shipment phase, when the equipment arrives at the plant. During this stage, we conduct tests - typically electroluminescence and visual inspections - to determine whether any damage occurred during transportation.

    Finally, after installation on-site, we perform tasks such as electroluminescence on installed modules to determine whether any damage occurred during installation, or tests such as thermography, I-V curve measurements, or power measurements in the field to determine the status of the equipment when the construction work is completed and during the operation phase.

    By combining the results of the different tests, we can determine whether any defects may impact energy production or worker safety.


    How many solar projects have Enertis Applus+ provided these QA/QC services to?

    Enertis Applus+ is a global company specializing in PV quality control, solar consulting, and solar engineering services, with extensive experience in the renewable energy and energy storage sector. We are pioneers in providing technical inspection and solar quality assurance services and have been in business since 2007. Our track record includes working for more than 250 GW in renewable projects and 15 GWh in storage projects across 65 countries.


    For more information, read the full interview with Ignacio Fernández, Head of Testing and Optimization at Enertis Applus+, for PV Magazine Brazil (Portuguese), or contact our experts.



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