Press contact

Elfi Benfares
Tel. +49 30 – 8145264-503



Press release - Berlin, 7.6.2016

PV Power Plants
Lab quality power measurements now possible in situ without dismantling modules

Ultra-precise troubleshooting with Class AAA LED solar simulator

Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin (PI Berlin) now has the capability to troubleshoot faults in PV power plants using a precision LED solar simulator. This device is the first of its kind worldwide to allow laboratory standard solar module power measurements to be taken in the field without the need to dismantle modules. Until now, these measurements were only possible using mobile laboratories, which required modules to be removed from installations for testing. PI Berlin is presenting its new measurement method at this year’s Intersolar Europe exhibition in Munich, Germany, from 22–24 June 2016.

LED flash testing for in situ diagnostics

If a solar power plant fails to deliver the expected yield, this may be caused by a variety of factors. Power losses can often be traced back to the smallest of faults in PV modules, which aren’t recognized at first glance – for instance micro cracks in solar cells. To return a power plant to full productivity as rapidly as possible, faults and their relevance must be quickly pinpointed. Here, LED solar simulators help to accurately determine the effect of defects on an installation’s yield.

Ultra-precise output measurements directly in the field

“With mobile labs out in the field you first need to dismantle several PV modules, which of course takes time and can also result in further damage to the modules. We therefore prefer to work with a Class AAA LED solar simulator. It is set on the module substructure at the site, so there is no need to remove modules and the output measurements are quicker and cheaper,” explains Dr Paul Grunow, CEO of PI Berlin. “The precision LED sun simulator replicates sunlight so realistically that we are able to test module power output with extreme accuracy at any time of the day or year. If we perform testing at night, this has the added advantage for operators that there is no plant downtime.”

New LED solar simulator meets stricter upcoming IEC 60904-9 standard

The LED solar simulator was developed in collaboration with the innovative high-tech start-up Wavelabs and Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), one of the leading Swiss universities of its kind, and with the support of the professional association Electrosuisse. The device not only meets the current IEC 60904-9 standard but also satisfies the more rigorous forthcoming specifications.

Presentation at Intersolar

PI Berlin will demonstrate output measurements with the new Class AAA LED solar simulator at the Intersolar Europe exhibition in Munich, Germany, from 22–24 June 2016. The institute will also present additional services at the exhibition, such as its new quality test for EVA films and electroluminescence measurements using drones.

Intersolar exhibition stand: Hall A1, Booth A1.533

Interview opportunities at the exhibition:

Dr Paul Grunow, Board Member of PI Berlin, and Michael Schoppa, Head of PV Module Quality & Lab Services, will be happy to give interviews at the exhibition.

PI Berlin will also be making the following presentations (in English) at the EU PVSEC conference in Munich, which takes place in parallel to Intersolar:

  • 5DO.10.5, N. Ferretti et al.: Investigation on the Impact of Module Cleaning on the Antireflection Coating
  • 5DO.12.2, S. Koch et al.: Outdoor Electroluminescence Imaging of Crystalline Photovoltaic Modules: Comparative Study between Manual Ground-Level Inspections and Drone-Based Aerial Surveys
  • 5BO.11.1, C. Hinz et al.: Regeneration of Potential Induced Degradation Affected Modules

About PI Berlin

The Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin provides independent, expert advice on designing, constructing and operating PV power plants worldwide. With its experienced team of researchers and engineers, the institute offers a wide range of design and test services with a focus on quality assurance in complex PV projects. PI Berlin has already provided support for projects with a total rated output of over two gigawatts (GW) worldwide.

The institute also has an IEC-accredited test laboratory at its Berlin site for checking the performance, reliability and resistance of solar modules. Another test laboratory is located in Suzhou, China.

The institute was established ten years ago by PV experts Prof. Dr Stefan Krauter, Sven Lehmann and Dr Paul Grunow, who was also one of the founders of Solon and Q CELLS.