Developing superior standards for solar panels

The need

In order to encourage the uptake of emerging and innovative technologies, like solar panels, manufacturers and customers need standards that they can be confident in.

Solar panels are sold based on their performance under a set of standard test conditions. When put to practice, however, this metric proves problematic as it is not based on real-world conditions.

For instance, factors like temperature and wind speed cause deviations in the efficiency of photovoltaic modules, as this can significantly impact on the performance of solar panels. In fact, it's predicted that external factors could lead to as much as a 20% discrepancy annually in the performance of these modules. This impacts on how confident industry is in the technology and in turn impacts on willingness to harness future innovations.

The impact

We brought together energy consultants, developers, the R&D community and our own world-leading experts to lead a series of discussions to define how these standards could be made better for use.

These conversations not only clarified the need for a new approach within the industry, but also introduced the concept of an 'energy rating'. As a comparison framework, this standard reflects performance in real-life use cases, and goes on to benefit manufacturers and customers – helping to build confidence and encourage the uptake of solar panels and renewable resources in the long term, as well as future innovations.