Principal Solar, Inc.(PSI) recently announced the release of a white paper outlining its solar photovoltaic (PV) module ratings. “Solar Industry Goes Mainstream: New PV Module Rating System Empowers Solar Professionals” outlines the industry’s first and only comprehensive, independent performance rating standard based on lifetime energy production of solar PV modules. The white paper is designed to assist large-scale solar consumers.

“Solar PV modules offer a vast array of technology choices in terms of cells, panels and configurations, creating challenges for decision-makers,” says  Matthew A. Thompson, one of the paper’s authors and director of The Principal Solar Institute, an online reference center and resource guide for the commercial and utility scale solar market and publisher of the white paper. “This unbiased rating system elevates the solar industry to the level of other mature markets, such as the financial sector, which turns to Standard & Poor’s ratings for investments, and the air conditioning manufacturing industry, which relies upon SEER ratings.”

Guided by an advisory board of highly influential academic experts and solar professionals, the PV module rating is based on physical tests by independent laboratories such as TÜV Rheinland, but is presented as a single comparative number that can be used with circumstantial information such as deliverability, pricing, and manufacturer reputation so that solar power plant designers, buyers, and financiers have a consistent basis for choosing a particular PV module. The system empowers these decision-makers to make informed, intelligent comparisons and determinations when selecting PV modules.

“The PSI rating method will satisfy the solar power industry’s urgent need for a way to uniformly evaluate PV modules in order to make technologically and financially optimal decisions,” Thompson adds.