Humboldt State University

Schatz Energy Research Center

Testing Solar Modules for Markets in the Developing World

Two graduate students test small solar panels on a sunny day.

SERC staff perform quality assurance testing on photovoltaic modules.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is moving from the margins into the mainstream in markets from North America and Europe to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. While the rapid growth of solar markets around the world is based largely on sales of high performance PV modules, the presence of low quality products in some markets creates cause for concern.

Faculty and students from HSU have played a central role in efforts to ensure the quality of solar modules sold in the Kenyan solar market. The work has involved laboratory testing at HSU as well as field testing of solar equipment in Kenya, and the results have been published in academic journals as well as the Kenya based Solarnet magazine. The project has made a very real difference, as sales of the lowest quality brands of solar modules in the Kenyan market have declined sharply.

For additional information read our newsletter articles “Building Institutions for Renewable Energy Markets” and “Solar Photovoltaics and Energy Yield.”