A Proposed Standard for: Nameplate, Datasheet, and Sampling Requirements of Photovoltaic Modules

Download the one-page summary (PDF, 398KB) or the full report (PDF, 719KB).


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This Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) report represents the implementation of the March 2011 Solar ABCs policy statement (Photovoltaic Module Power Rating) into a photovoltaic (PV) module standard with a text format acceptable to standard developing organizations such as ASTM International, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The European Union has developed a related standard (EN 50380, "Datasheet and nameplate information for photovoltaic modules"), and the proposed Solar ABCs standard differs in three major respects:

  • The European standard allows production tolerance leniency as well as measurement uncertainty leniency and does not impose specific lower/upper limits for the production tolerance. The proposed Solar ABCs standard addresses these issues.
  • The European standard requires reporting of module data at only three rating conditions: standard test conditions (STC), nominal operating cell temperature (NOCT), and low irradiance conditions (LIC). IEC 61853-1 requires reporting the module data at two additional rating conditions of high temperature conditions (HTC) and low temperature conditions (LTC). The proposed Solar ABCs standard recommends the use of the five test conditions required by the IEC 61853-1 standard.
  • The European standard does not impose statistical sampling requirement in the selection of modules used for the independent power rating measurements. The proposed Solar ABCs standard incorporates a simple statistical sampling method to determine the required number of samples to be used by the independent testing organizations performing the power rating measurements.

Why the Report is Important

The proposed Solar ABCs standard provides a protocol that standard making organizations can use to develop a PV module standard. It identifies:

  • information to be included on PV module nameplates and datasheets,
  • five rating conditions under which the performance parameters of PV modules shall be reported, and
  • a simple statistical method to determine the number of samples to be used for the power rating measurements.

If adopted, the Solar ABCs standard will make it easier for consumers, states, and organizations providing PV system incentives to more accurately evaluate the performance of PV modules than is possible at present.

Issues Addressed by this Proposed Standard

Manufacturers typically rate PV modules at standard test conditions only. The Solar ABCs standard would require them to test modules at the additional four test conditions included in the IEC 61853-1. The proposed standard also requires nameplates and datasheets to include specific information, and provides a simple statistical method to determine the number of samples required for the power rating measurements.