Marrying Quality Assurance with Design Engineering - A Winning Partnership! But, a Cultural Divide

Sarah Kurtz, Govind Ramu, Robert Cornell, Sumanth Lokanath, Edward Hsi, Tony Sample, Masaaki Yamamichi, George Kelly, Ted Spooner, Jonathan Previtali, John Wohlgemuth

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Investors would like to be confident that a PV plant will work as promised before investing large sums of money. Data showing that PV modules can withstand thousands of hours of accelerated testing are a comfort, but are not sufficient to characterize the economic useful life (EUL) of the whole PV system. An inability to be confident of every aspect of the system can motivate less favorable contract terms. In the end, a winning partnership is obtained when a carefully engineered, durable design is married with a robust quality management system and the marriage is extended across all parts of the value chain. However, this marriage is challenging because of the conventional cultural divide between design engineers and quality management specialists. International standards are being developed to facilitate this partnership and include technology-specific requirements in the quality management systems used for component manufacture and system design, construction and operation.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2018
Event2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC) - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Conference2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC)
CityWashington, D.C.

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5J00-67764 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-73960


  • accelerated testing
  • PV
  • quality assurance


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