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Standardizing PV Cell Efficiency Measurements: A Call to Action from Industry Experts

published: 2024-06-06 17:47

In 2023, the PV industry entered the mass production era of N-type TOPCon technology. Alongside its rapid development, the measurement of cell efficiency has sparked controversy. Notably, various companies periodically announce their world records, raising questions about whether these records are internationally recognized or merely self-promotional claims by companies and third-party organizations.

Amid the confusion surrounding efficiency verification, on the afternoon of May 30, 2024, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, under the guidance of the Department of Electronic Information of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, organized a seminar in Beijing on the calibration issues of PV cell efficiency. Jin Lei, Director of the Department of Electronic Information, attended and spoke at the meeting, which was hosted by Jiang Hua, Deputy Secretary-General of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association. Representatives from 20 organizations, including research institutes, PV companies, and metrology and testing institutions, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Trina Solar, Tongwei Co., Jinko Solar, LONGi Green Energy, JA Solar, JTPV, Astronergy, Runergy, Canadian Solar, Yingfa Deyo, DAS Solar, Jolywood, Anhui Huasheng, National Institute of Metrology, China Certification & Inspection Group, CPVT, CQC, TÜV SÜD, and TÜV Rheinland, attended the meeting.

After discussion, the meeting reached a consensus on the following points:

  1. It is neither scientific nor reasonable to back-calculate and require cell efficiency based on a 100% CTM (Cell-to-Module) ratio for module encapsulation, as it does not reflect technological innovations at the module level.
  2. The current phenomenon of significantly higher PV cell test efficiencies, primarily in TOPCon cells, compared to warehousing efficiencies is abnormal and non-standard. This discrepancy can impact the setting of technical indicator values in national industry management policies, the efficiency calibration of large-scale mass-produced cell technologies such as HJT and XBC, and the credibility of PV cell efficiency test values.

The meeting called for joint efforts from enterprises and the industry to promptly restore the true value of PV cell test efficiencies, particularly for TOPCon cells. Metrology and testing institutions should enhance their measurement and testing capabilities, improve measurement technology, strengthen the training of testing personnel, increase integrity levels, and align with corresponding international institutions. It is imperative to treat test results seriously and rigorously and to avoid and resist the irresponsible provision of world record conversion efficiency test results.

The meeting also reported on the recent quality spot checks of PV module products. In its subsequent work, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association plans to explore the establishment of a working group to promote comparisons among metrology and testing institutions. This initiative will support relevant work of industry regulatory departments and include PV cells in the annual quality supervision and inspection scope for PV products.


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