Now, we seem to be caught in a circle of boasting component power that is not in line with reality and long-term investment returns. From wafer size to battery design to component photovoltaic solar panel brackets profile steel production and supply, this is entirely driven by the manufacturer.
Let us reiterate the main issue here: Investors hope to get the highest return with the least risk in the next 25-30 years. This is all about the highest return, but it does not seem to save capital expenditures for projects built with high-profile components.
Experienced manufacturers understand that manufacturing stable, reliable, and durable products is the core driver for minimizing total cost of ownership during the life of the plant.
However, the game of nominal power has intensified and everyone is involved. The author’s guess is that if all competitors are pushing products with 420W and above, then the 380W component seems to be out of date. In some ways, people will sympathize with the sales team and understand the need to provide market-competitive products at any time.
If the quality can be benchmarked, then the world will be very different.
The status of component quality and reliability should always be better than the rated power of the component, which seems obvious, and no one will object to the purchase of the component. So what is the problem?
Perhaps all of this can be attributed to the absence of clear industry-recognized metrics (such as component power ratings), so quality becomes an object that can be interpreted, marketed, and compared in many different ways. Currently, more than 50 component suppliers claim to be a component supplier on a list, does this mean that they have quality products that they can trust?
Indeed, in the past few months, one of the most frequently asked questions in the industry since PV-Tech launched the PV ModuleTech Financing Ratings report is: How to measure component quality? Can we benchmark suppliers against quality based on quality?
This is a parameter that is very difficult to benchmark, because quality is essentially a qualitative concept and there is no scoring mechanism that can be relied upon. Companies engaged in quality audits and reliability testing have a specific way of ranking suppliers. Typically, this ranking is related to the plant, bill of materials, or component type. These methods may be useful if there is a fixed supply chain with a limited variety of components. But as mentioned earlier, the situation in today’s industry is exactly the opposite.
Therefore, quality and reliability testing is case-specific and is only valid for one product at a certain point in time. As long as conditions change (manufacturing material supply, processing equipment, silicon or battery supply channels, assembly sites), all work needs to start all over again, or should start all over again.
This is a real problem for institutional investors. To a large extent, the project supply due diligence and risk mitigation processes are only applicable to the current project, or the first phase of a large multi-phase construction project.
After 3-6 months, the entire process needs to be repeated. Although the rated power is higher, the components from the same supplier are highly likely to change.
Imagine the cost factors: factory audits at all stages of the project, certification and testing each time a component parameter changes. Of course, this is not an unrealistic imagination – if a field change is required, but the component will take place in 2-3 years.
In a way, this explains why factory auditors, reliability and test labs, and certification bodies have never been so busy.