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Combined Standard for PV Module Design Qualification and Type Approval: New IEC 61215 - Series
B. Jäckel, A. Roth, G. Volberg, J. Althaus, G. Kleiss, P. Seidel, M. Beck
IEC 61215, Design Qualification, IEC, IEC 61646, Type approval
Subtopic: Standardisation as Tool for Innovation and Cost Reduction
Event: 29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 5DV.3.58
3477 - 3482
ISBN: 3-936338-34-5
Paper DOI: 10.4229/EUPVSEC20142014-5DV.3.58
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper


The commercial success of photovoltaics (PV) is largely based on the long-term reliability of the PV modules. Current PV modules tend to carry a performance warranty of 25 years. These modules are typically qualified to IEC 61215 or IEC 61646 – design qualification and type approval for terrestrial crystalline Si (c-Si) or thin-film (TF) technologies, respectively. These qualification tests have shown to adequately identify design, material, and process flaws that could lead to premature field failures. Consequently, PV module customers have come to appreciate the criticality of the tests set forth in IEC standards 61215 and 61646. The PV market has come to trust these IEC standards, and as such they represent an essential component of the success of the rapid growth of the PV market. Since the last revisions of the standards the knowledge of PV failure modes increased dramatically. To retain market trust in the IEC standards, maintenance of the pertinent standards needs to assure compliance with state-of-the-art knowledge and best practices. To be prepared for the upcoming technology developments this new structure allows fast changes to keep the standards up-to date. Over the past two years Working Group 2 (WG2) of the technical committee for Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems (TC82) within the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) invested a considerable effort to update and merge the terrestrial PV module design qualification and type approval standards into a single IEC 61215 series. Part 1 addresses the minimum requirements for testing with subparts 1-1 through 1-4 addressing PV technology specific deviations – e.g. stabilization – while Part 2 deals with the required tests protocols and test sequences. In the current committee draft of edition 3 the power output verification has been completely overhauled, new tests have been added, and pass/fail criteria revised. This paper explains the most crucial changes to edition 3 of IEC 61215 and provides the rationale for the applied changes. There are multiple reasons for the changes, but one significant justification is that the new standard series allows more flexibility and faster responses to changes in any given PV technology.