Last week some familiar (and some new) faces from the electronics industry met in San Francisco to set standards for the assembly of solar modules. This group, the “IPC PV Module Technical Standards Committee”, is comprised of module assemblers/OEMs, consultants, equipment makers, and materials suppliers. We aim to remove non-value-added processes and provide a common set of terms and practices, including acceptance criteria for different aspects of both incoming materials and finished product.
Much of the work done in this meeting was identifying and specifying defects throughout the module assembly process. This is where a diverse group of engineers really makes a difference. The group, having seen the module assembly process from many angles, worked together to fill in the gaps that would have been otherwise gaping if any one of us had tried to tackle this task by ourselves. One attendee may know almost everything there is to know about lamination materials, or tabbing ribbon, or cell specifications, or the assembly procedure, but there is sure to be someone that knows more about the other topics. This group had all those areas of expertise covered.
Pivotry Consulting had this to say about the event:
”The IPC Technical Standards Committee Meeting for Solar PV Modules was held February 1, 2010 in San Francisco. This new committee is focused on supporting the PV panel manufacturers by providing baseline standards for manufacturing process defects from solar cells, cell assembly/stringing, substrate glass, deposited films, lamination, framing and assembly, junction box, and final panel assembly. Contributing panel manufacturers at this meeting included Q-Cells, SoloPower and Trina Solar. Many companies in the value chain included Burkle, Celestica, Jabil, Flextronics, Indium Corporation, Christopher Associates, 2BG Solar, and Atlas Materials Testing Solutions. An initial and partial defect dataset was also provided by CEP Solar. This was just the third meeting of the Committee. The meeting minutes will be provided on the IPC website. With the recent explosion of panel manufacturers entering the market in the past couple of years (total over 400 worldwide), this manufacturing industry is racing to capture opportunities…and the adoption of Standards as developed from such committees as this one will undoubtedly help these manufacturers be even more successful by reducing costs.”
I feel that this meeting really warmed up quickly, and the new members had a great deal of input. There really aren’t that many events where a new member can step into a group of professionals and feel this comfortable and empowered. We all learned from our peers, and everyone had a lot to offer to the group.