News

RETC Confirms Substantial Improvement in Hail Resistance on NEXTracker’s Next Generation Control system for Utility-Scale Solar Power Plants

FREMONT, Calif., February 4, 2020 — RETC is proud to have supported NEXTracker in the evaluation of their next generation control system for utility-scale PV applications.  During an anticipated hailstorm, the NX Navigator control system can be controlled to rotate to a more off-angle (60 degrees) resting position from expected hail, resulting in less potential damage to the PV modules at the site.

When the NEXTracker Navigator system is put in a 60 degree stow position and away from direct hail impact, it can drastically reduce hail impact related module breakage, as it was characterized at RETC’s labs using our calibrated hail cannon system.  Testing showed up to a 3x increase in the hail impact energy required to break conventional PV modules, which will significantly reduce the damage potential of the PV array in these extreme weather conditions.  Additional details regarding this exciting product announcement and RETC’s role in characterization can be found here. (READ MORE)

Renewable Energy Test Center Highlights High Achievers Across 46 Solar Manufacturers in 2019 PV Module Index

Annual report reveals comprehensive indicators of high achieving solar modules

FREMONT, Calif., June 3, 2019 — Continuing to support solar panel manufacturers in the development of high-quality products, and solar project developers, financiers, and end-users who seek high-quality panels, Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) has released its first annual PV Module Index. The report is the first comprehensive assessment of top-performing modules that are tested for reliability, performance, and qualityacross 18 different indicators. Within the data, two manufacturers are recognized for demonstrating high achievement across indicators in all three categories.

“RETC is releasing this index to help the entire solar industry better evaluate modules based on important attributes beyond efficiency and cost,” said Cherif Kedir, RETC President and Chief Executive Officer. “It’s worth noting that high achieving quality module manufacturers put their products through an exhaustive set of accelerated reliability tests, while other manufacturers choose to select only a few of the tests to characterize their products. We congratulate the high achievers in each of the categories, and look forward to working with all manufacturers to continue to demonstrate their product excellence.”  

In 2018, RETC tested more than 2,500 individual modules, from more than 150 different module families, made by 46 different suppliers. While RETC evaluated modules on 18 different criteria, the report focuses on eight important criteria that best represent the three categories of reliability, performance, and quality. The report calls out high achieving modules that demonstrated results at the top of the distribution for each of the eight criteria.

“As the industry has matured, solar professionals may want to focus on the cost per watt, but modules with the lowest price are not always top values in performance, quality or reliability,” said Chris Beitel, Head of Business Development at RETC. “By focusing on all three categories, module manufacturers can have confidence their products are well-equipped to perform across the board, while downstream players can feel assured the products they are selecting are engineered to deliver as expected.”

  • For reliability, the PV Module Index reviews the results of module tests such as Damp Heat, Dynamic Mechanical Load, and Potential Induced Degradation. High achieving modules withstood abuse from these tests and saw minimal degradation in power output, versus their peers.
  • Performance tests measure a module’s efficiency in power generation and see how they do in actual real-world conditions, such as high temperatures, and early morning and afternoon sun conditions. Tests conducted include I-V Characterization of Module Efficiencies, conditions at elevated temperatures such as PVUSA Test Conditions (PTC), and Pan File Testing, which evaluates modules in various light and temperature conditions. Seven high achievers demonstrated greater than 19 percent module efficiency. Four high achievers received Performance Ratios above 85 percent by demonstrating simulated performance, via PVsyst software, which was 85 percent of their “nameplate,” or theoretical maximum output.
  • A “commitment to quality” indicates a manufacturer’s strict adherence to high-quality standards in their R&D process, engineering changes, manufacturing and vendor management. Quality products should be well manufactured with repeatable processes, materials, production equipment, and labor techniques. To demonstrate quality, the PV Module Index provides an exhaustive characterization of a module family across a multitude of tests to develop its Product Qualification Program/Thresher Performance Matrix. Degradation of less than 2% for a given test demonstrates high achievement and four manufacturers reached this level of performance.

The report provides data showing test results for modules that achieved results at the top of the distribution. The paper also shares data on new technologies, such as bifacial and PERC, more recent entrants to manufacturing, and the differences between laboratory testing and real-world field performance and reliability testing.

Additional tests that are discussed in the report that covers reliability include Humidity Freeze, Thermal Cycling and Ultraviolet Exposure. In performance, other tests include  Incidence Angle Modifiers and Light and Elevated Temperature Degradation. Finally, in the area of quality, additional tests in the report cover Engineering Changes, Bill of Material Changes, Randomized Sampling, Factory Audits, and Factory Inspections.

The tests were completed at sites in Fremont, California; Pahrump, Nevada; Los Andes, Chile and in Cagayan de Oro City, in the Philippines.

About Renewable Energy Test Center:
Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) is one of the world’s leading independent engineering and certification test laboratories for photovoltaic and renewable energy products. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the heart of Silicon Valley, RETC provides unequaled engineering support for R&D, certification and field testing for fast-track product introduction and for bankability assessments. The company is CBTL and ISO 17025 accredited. For more information call (510) 226-1635 or visit us at https://retc-ca.com.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Technica Communications for RETC
Cassandra Sweet
1-415-269-4446
cassandra@technicacommunications.com

RETC Adds Industry Veteran to Enhance Customer Experience and Grow Service Offerings

RETC announced today that it has retained Chris Beitel to lead business development, sales, and marketing initiatives within the company. He will be responsible for providing an enhanced customer experience, launching new service initiatives, and providing strategic insight as the company enters its next phases of growth.

Mr. Beitel brings over 20 years of high-tech management experience, helping companies develop new & disruptive products/services, operational scaling, technology scouting, and providing high value customer partnerships. Most recently Mr. Beitel provided consulting services for companies in the test services, energy storage, semiconductor, and display technology sectors. Previously, Mr Beitel headed up Operations, Sales and Marketing functions at PV module manufacturer Silevo, which was acquired by Solar City/Tesla. Before Silevo, Mr. Beitel spent 13 years as an executive manager and engineer at Applied Materials, helping launch successful endeavors in advanced metallization for semiconductors and being a founding team member as Applied diversified into PV manufacturing equipment.

CEO and President Cherif Kedir said, “We are delighted to have Chris join the RETC management team. Chris brings unique insight in renewables both in terms of developing upstream PV and Energy Storage product lines but also as a partner positioning these products to installers, developers and financers of small to large scale renewable energy projects downstream. As RETC launches new service offerings to our customers both up and downstream in the value chain, Chris’s industry knowledge and relationship network will be invaluable to us.”

Mr. Beitel commented, “I’m excited to be bringing my business experience in renewables and most recently in analytical test services to the accomplished technical team at RETC. RETC’s engineering competency in the area of PV component development is unparalleled. As the renewable industry starts to add new systems such as batteries, there is a natural synergy to marry technical acumen along with the business insights that understand uncertainties and bottlenecks in industry adoption. I look forward to working with the RETC team to develop new value-added products and services that will help overcome many of these industry challenges, therefore accelerating the adoption of renewable energy.”

About RETC
RETC is a third-party test laboratory located in the Silicon Valley, highly regarded for its world-class engineering and certification testing services for photovoltaic and renewable energy products. RETC is CBTL and ISO 17025 accredited offering fast-track product introduction with unequaled engineering support from R&D, certification, bankability and field testing.
For more information call (510) 226-1635 or visit the Company’s website at https://retc-ca.com/

For Further Information Contact:
info(at)retc-ca.com
510-226-1635

RETC Partners with Water Mission to provide Access to Clean Safe Water

A Powerful Partnership Between RETC and Water Mission

Water source for families in Obeyeie Ghana. Seen here are Children getting water from the local lake.

Water Mission, a Christian engineering nonprofit, has provided over 3 million people access to safe water since 2001. Based in Charleston, SC, Water Mission empowers communities in 53 countries around the world to break the cycle of poverty fueled by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.
Over the past three years, Water Mission and its partners have implemented numerous projects which were made possible by the generous donations of the Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC). Having donated approximately 240,000 watts of solar energy to date, RETC has enabled Water Mission to pump life-giving water to nearly half a million people.

PV System for Clean Water Pumping in Los Angeles, Honduras

One project made possible by RETC is in the community of Obeyeie, Ghana, and is being served by Safe Water Network, a Water Mission partner. The water source for this community is more than 500m away and requires significant treatment in order to be safe for drinking.

Supported by Water Mission’s engineering staff, the team from Safe Water Network designed a six-panel solar array that pumps 40,000 liters of treated, safe water to Obeyeie every day. Now, community members, usually women and children, have a much shorter walk to gather water for their families and the assurance that the water will not result in further illness.
Water Mission, Safe Water Network, and many other implementation partners look forward to an ongoing partnership with RETC. Thank you for continuing to provide safe water to people in need around the world!

RETC, in partnership with our customers, have provided PV modules, which would have otherwise been destroyed and recycled, to communities in need. With our help and the generous donations made possible through our helping hands and the incredible work of Water Mission, we are able to make a positive impact on people’s lives worldwide!

 

Koiwatatuk, Kenya – The system behind the taps

Bellanger, Haiti – Installing the SolarWorld panels.

 

SOLARWORLD Bellanger, Haiti

PV System for Clean Water Pumping in Los Angeles, Honduras

Black & Veatch and Renewable Energy Test Center launch new energy storage bankability service Partnership also includes assessments of power conversion and solar PV equipment

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (12 September 2017) – Black & Veatch, a leading engineering, construction and consulting company, and Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC), an engineering services, and certification testing provider for photovoltaic and renewable energy products, today announced the launch of a new energy storage bankability service. The bankability service reflects the growing need for advanced testing and assessments of products, processes and technologies supporting the fast-growing photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage markets.

 “The rapid expansion of PV and energy storage is driving the development of a large number of new technologies,” said Dr. Ralph Romero, senior managing director for Black & Veatch Management Consulting. “Working with RETC we can assess and validate the performance of emerging technologies, a service critical to ensuring storage projects meet customer expectations for reliability and performance.”

“We are pleased to partner with Black & Veatch to provide owners, technology providers, project developers, investors and more with an unbiased evaluation of a product in the areas of PV and energy storage,” said Alelie Funcell, President and CEO of Renewable Energy Test Center. “By testing new technologies before they are put into service we can minimize the likelihood of field failure and maximize ROI.”

The new bankability service builds upon Black & Veatch’s experience in independent assessment of alternative energy technologies and the design and construction of PV plants, microgrids and other systems that deploy PV and energy storage technologies. RETC’s expertise and technical resources will be used to help predict a product’s field performance against the provider’s lifetime expectations. Data will help owners and other stakeholders understand the risk of product failure and reliability before embarking on significant projects.

Key customer segments for bankability and assessment services include product manufacturers, project owners, project developers, financial institutions and investors.

For more information about the energy storage and PV technology testing service, please visit: www.bv.com.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2016 were US$3.2 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media.

BLACK & VEATCH, RENEWABLE ENERGY TEST CENTER LAUNCH SOLAR INDUSTRY’S FIRST BIFACIAL MODULE RANKING

Tests analyze performance of solar PV modules that capture and convert light on both sides

Oct 25, 2017 9:00 AM ET

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., October 25, 2017 /3BL Media/ – Black & Veatch, a leading engineering, construction and consulting company and Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC), a world-class engineering services and certification testing provider for photovoltaic and renewable energy products, will launch the first bifacial photovoltaic (PV) module ranking in the solar industry.

Bifacial modules are able to produce energy from both sides of the module and can outperform typical PV modules in certain applications. Interest in bifacial technology has risen dramatically as efficiencies have increased and costs have fallen.

Manufacturers of solar modules tested under the process developed by Black & Veatch and RETC will receive scores that are then ranked anonymously against other unnamed industry providers. The ranking is based on a comprehensive analysis of bifacial solar PV module performance in laboratory and field conditions, and is open to bifacial products on the market today as well as those under development.

“The Black & Veatch-RETC bifacial module ranking is designed to improve the understanding of current and upcoming commercial bifacial modules,” said Dr. Ralph Romero, Senior Managing Director and head of the Black & Veatch bankability practice. “The product evaluation procedures are based on leading PV science and the results will serve as a guide for developers, lenders and investors to generate quality-based finance and procurement strategies to ensure long-term project viability.”

Cherif Kedir, Executive Vice President of RETC, explained that “bifacial modules are no longer a niche product. We are seeing increased interest from developers and project stakeholders in bifacial technologies and many module manufacturers are noticing. Advanced testing and results assessment customized for bifacial modules is critically needed to assess long-term bifacial module performance. The Black & Veatch-RETC bifacial module ranking will fill this gap.”

About Black & Veatch 
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2016 were US$3.2 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media.