Great is a great place to start
Does a manufacturing process really need 360 quality control points? Some would call that obsessive, wasteful even, and they’d be right. We worked out you only need 359 quality controls to make the best products possible.
Then the job becomes changing what’s possible. For example, we’ve tried and tested our PV products again and again, to the point where we’re so confident in them that we offer a 25-year performance warranty. Even more testing and the consistent excellence of our products in the field have grown that confidence to the point where we will soon be offering a 30-year option. And, if we can hit the 30-year mark, well then… you get the idea.
As much as we’re focused on delivering the best products of tomorrow, we’re also proud of the standards we set today. These are illustrated by the terms of our performance warranty, which guarantees that the actual power output of a module will be no less than 97% of the labeled power output during its first year of operation, and will decline by no more than 0.7% annually so that by the end of year 25 the actual power output will be no less than 80% of the module's labeled power output. In addition, Canadian Solar has expanded its product warranty covering workmanship and material defects to 10 years.
"We are proud of our ability to offer an enhanced warranty policy that, combined with our positive power tolerance and our insurance policies, provides the best value in the industry,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar Inc. “These enhancements underlie our confidence in our manufacturing and quality control processes, and our commitment to the success of our customers," he added.
And Dr. Qu’s confidence has a solid foundation: From incoming material selection to the assembly of finished products, Canadian Solar applies strict step-by-step procedures that ensure the performance of each component in every module.
The design process includes every test imaginable: durability, UV resistance, degradation rate and extreme temperature variation, as well as mechanical performance in the face of torrential rains, high winds and heavy snowfalls. There’s no room for inferior components or workmanship. And this ensures our panels will work across a wide range of applications as well as stand up to harsher conditions than competitive products.
Getting down to specifics, 158 of our 359 quality control points are for incoming materials, while 62 are for raw materials processes and the others for production control. Every module goes through the following:
- Electroluminescence (EL) testing: a 100% EL screen test to eliminate cell or module defects.
- Cleaning: 100% module visual inspection and clean before packing
- Testing and analysis: performance reliability, mechanical and chemical tests of raw materials and components. This is done in warehouse, on the production line, in the testing lab and at other 3rd parties.
- Machine testing: advanced automatic equipment in testing and manufacturing process.
- Lab testing: In 2008 Canadian Solar commissioned the first module manufacturer-owned photovoltaic reliability testing laboratory to meet ISO/IEC 17025 (Accreditation Criteria for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories). The laboratory has total area space 3130 square meters and employs 23 full time technicians.
In addition, as a tier one module manufacturer, our products are used all over the world. As a result they’ve been tested by local standards authorities, banks and independent auditors in Australia, USA, Japan and many other countries, where they’ve delivered excellent results and proven top performance across the board. Even so, we see this as no more than a great beginning. The future of solar energy promises so much more. Which is why we have a staff of over 400 scientists, engineers and technicians working on it today.