STS has been invited by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) to share our perspective on general quality trends in the industry

Oct 21, 2021

One-third of inspection projects (representing several GWs of modules) had at least one bill of materials non-conformity found during inspection.

STS has been invited by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) to share our perspective on general quality trends in the industry. Here is our analysis:

One-third of inspection projects (representing several GWs of modules) had at least one bill of materials non-conformity found during inspection.

With half-cut cells, the probability of cell cracks is higher, especially when combined with multi-wire or multi-busbar interconnections, because modules have twice as many cell edges and cells lay closer to each other. However, the severity of microcracks is lower because half-cut cells carry lower current levels, leading to less severe hotspots. In general, using more busbars improves the resiliency against cracks. Manufacturing with new interconnection schemes is more difficult than with a small number of wide busbars.

Some manufacturers are reducing the quality level of their quality control plan to have fewer rejects and therefore maintain their production yield. We see this trend especially in South East Asia.

More generally speaking, this report indicates some industry concerns about deteriorating module quality due to supply chain shortages and US trade supply issues, as well as using large-format modules, including module reliability (more testing required), structural integrity and handling, and installation issues with large modules.