Florian Reil





  • Studied mechanical engineering (focus on mechatronics).
  • Since 2007 -Employed at TÜV Rheinland Energie und Umwelt GmbH for large scale PV project, applied R and D, business field manager solar energy “Solar Innovation”.
  • Since 2013 -Director of competence center “BIPV” at TÜV Rheinland
  • Standardisation delegate at WG 1 TC 82 Cenelec, WG3/6 TC 82 IEC, DKE AK373, DIN Na Bau 0052
  • Contact information:

TÜV Rheinland Energie und Umwelt GmbH, Am Grauen Stein, 51105 Köln
Tel.: 0221 806 2794, Fax.: 0221 806 1350


Certification and Evaluation of Power Modules and Power Plants

Florian Reil

           In order to maintain solar power as a reliable and safe technology, common and specific requirements are demanded within various national and international technical standards and guidelines. Broad know-how on the operation and quality of photovoltaic (PV) installations can be derivated from comprehensive experiences of operating systems which enables the European solar industry to define state of the art in terms of construction, engineering and technology. Quality is the key factor for a maintaining safety and bankability of the installations. However, research and experience from testing indicate considerable potentials for further, new, developments in technical definitions to be set as requirements for components, modules and installations. Laboratory tests are conducted basing on the existing standards which form minimum requirements for products to be integrated in the market. As a noticeable observation, testing results of PV modules show declining failure rates basing on IEC qualification standards whereas individual failures in the field can be monitored that do not always match the experimental findings from the lab. Accordingly, the currently applied standards have to be adjusted and extended through applied requirements. Such enhancements need to regard realistic reliability analysis and independent transparent comparisons of products to avoid failures in the field and gather customer confidence.

The necessary quality for installations can be evaluated through inspections and constant maintenance. Recent numbers of individual damaged systems1) resulting from fault connections lead to the derivation that periodic maintenance is much more relevant now since millions of installation are operating in the field. Constant maintenance reduces risks for a reliable operation of the plants. Next to the above issues, further national new requirements are set individually to extend current standards and guidelines, such as fire safety tests in Italy and Germany, determination of hail resistances to more severe impacts in Switzerland and Austria, requirements for building integration or qualification of components through local certification schemes (e.g. UK). Apparently, the current international (IEC/EN) standards serve as harmonized basis for minimum requirements, but local experiences from observations of installations in the field and different environmental influences lead to an adaption and further technical demands. Next to the seeming need from a technical point of view, such new requirements are also a challenge and chance for manufacturers and integrators to establish in current, but also future markets. Transportation distances and impacts are different since product sources and market orientations shift. Accordingly, integrated quality and monitoring systems, also during the transportation of modules, are a key issue for the success of the installation. With the opening of new global markets, challenges for the right material combination and technology evolve from the different environments that can go beyond the point of current standard requirements. Not only reliability aspects are determined by different climate and weather conditions, but also performance indicators, that allow a differentiation and specialization in high quality products.

1)  Hermann Laukamp -Zusammenfassung Schadensfallerhebung und -analyse, Ergebnisse einer extensiven Erfassung von Schäden  (Fraunhofer ISE) – 3. Fire Safety Workshop on PV Installations (Brandschutzworkshop), TÜV Rheinland, Cologne