SEMI International Standards
SEMI New Activity Report Form (SNARF)

Activity Number: 4997
SNARF for: New Standard: Test Method for Mechanical Vibration of c-Si PV Modules in Shipping Environment

Originating Global Technical Committee: Photovoltaic
Originating Technical Committee Region: Taiwan
Task Force in which work is to be carried out: Vibration Test Method Task Force

1. Rationale: Reliability is an issue that is particularly important in the PV industry, since a module manufacturer has to guarantee a lifetime up to 25 years. The buyers invest their money on both the performance and reliability of the product. Prior tests to ensure that the module can withstand the environmental conditions before being sent off to the customers are, therefore, the most promising solution to minimize the cost of both the customers and the manufacturer. This standard aims to provide a common test method for simulation of the mechanical vibration occurring during transportation and shipping. The module makers and buyers, or any other party interested, can thus have a common testing standard to refer to when desired. The standard can also accelerate the development for safer means of module protection during transportation.

Standard vibration and shock test methods exist for many electrical products, however, not specifically for PV modules. Therefore, as the PV industry grows at an increasing rate (from 10 GW global shipment in 2009 to a predicted 25 GW in 2012 [1]), such a standard to eliminate the unnecessary loss of investment and profit is more desired than ever. The data from TÜV Rheinland show that 9% of the c-Si modules and 13% of the Thin-Film modules arrived in the lab for testing in 2007-2008 failed during the initial measurement (insulation, power measurement and visual inspection, etc). Since the module makers perform some of these tests themselves before shipping, the data suggest that around 10% of modules were significantly damaged during transportation, caused most likely by vibration and shock. It is also possible that the ones that did not fail the initial measurement failed the other tests due to the same reason. Moreover, it is unknown whether the lifetime of those modules that pass the tests would not be shortened.

[1] Morgan Stanley Research, 2009

Rate the Estimated Effect on the Industry
2: Major effect on an industry sector - identify the relevant sector

Rate the Estimated Technical Difficulty of the Activity
II: Some Difficulty - Disagreements on known requirements exist but developing consensus is possible

2. Scope:
a: Define the areas to be covered or addressed by this activity or document:

This standard aims to provide a standard test method, as well as a common literature, when the reference to PV module reliability and safety test method against vibration in shipping environment is needed. It will benefit the module manufacturers, the buyers, the package providers/developers, and the PV module testing laboratories.

The new standard will specify:
a. Basic vibration test system requirements
b. Fixation of the packaged modules on the shaker
c. Fixation of the accelerometers on the modules
d. Test conditions for shipping via sea, air and land.

This standard will not:
a. Restrict the design specifications of the package other than at the interface to the test system, in order to enable b. the mounting of the package to the shaker.
c. Specify the orientation of the modules.

b: Expected result of activity
New Standard

3. Projected Timetable for Completion:
a: General Milestones
a. Activity Start: 12/11/2009b. 1st Draft by: 06/30/2010
c. Preballot by: d. Technical Ballot by: 10/30/2010
e. Committee Approval By:12/30/2010

Safety Considerations:
The resulting document is expected NOT to be a Safety Guideline

Intellectual Property Considerations:
a. In complying with the standard or safety guideline to be developed, the use of patented technology or a copyrighted item(s) is NOT required
b. The body of the standard and any appendices or related information sections will NOT include copyrighted material

Comments, Special Circumstances: None.

Approval: Activity approved by Committee/GCS on March 30, 2010