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by John R. Balfour MEP, PhD, PV Cosmologist, President: the Technology Research and Innovation Park (TRIP)

The old argument, “Standards increased costs” is crumbling due to the crucial need to offset and dramatically reduce project risk. The growing need for effective standards coalesce as a simple fact, “How can finance and insurance underwriters determine the project risk if they have no idea of what assets consists of, and what standards were applied in the process of PV system delivery for a specific project?”

Although only part of the equation, the other being, “What is the real physical and performance condition of the asset?” The industry is rapidly moving towards minimal consensus standards. Although less work has been accomplished on effective metrics to determine asset condition, these tow issues are now clear targets of interest for long-term industry players. The financial goal: provide consensus guidelines and approaches to reduce risk.

The latest snapshot of where the industry is today regarding standards is an excellent resource for the PV industry titled: Solar PV O&M Standards and Best Practices – Existing Gaps and Improvement Efforts, SAND2014-19432. Focused on existing standards, those in process as well as discussing ongoing changes, will result in others resulting in other future cost/risk reduction tools.