This study analyzes trends in PV module quality from over 250 independent factory audits conducted on more than 120 manufacturers by PI Berlin since 2012. The results provide useful insights into the major trends in PV modules over time, by region of manufacturing as well as by manufacturing capacity, location and level of automation.
Audits designed to understand risk
Factory audits provided by third parties often differ in terms of their aim, scope and auditing techniques. PI Berlin focuses on audits designed to assess risk for the buyer or investor – a process which doesn’t just assess the manufacturers’ compliance to their own quality standards, but also evaluates risks in the standards themselves. This ensures that all manufacturers are held to the same high standard and results can be bench-marked across manu- facturers.
A PI Berlin factory audit typically consists of the following major components:
■ Certification compliance
■ Bill of material (BOM) controls
■ Incoming quality controls (IQC)
■ In-line process and quality controls (IPQC)
■ Outgoing quality controls (OQC)
■ Equipment maintenance and calibration
■ Supplier, quality, product and engineering change management
■ Human resource management