Lightsource Renewable Energy has used what is thought to be the first mobile PV testing laboratory in the world on its recently acquired 5MW power plant in Cornwall.

Lightsource teamed up with Spanish PV engineering consultancy, Enertis Solar, which developed the unit, to conduct a range of tests on the China Sunergy-built project.

Tests included visual inspection, peak power measurement (Flash Test), isolation tests as well as electroluminescence test and inspection and thermal imaging testing.

According to Enertis Solar, all such tests can be performed to IEC 61215 and IEC 61646 standards.

Chris Buckland, technical director for Lightsource said: “Our large capacity for acquisitions of solar farm projects in the UK requires a quick turnaround of quality control. The onsite testing capability of Enertis solar benefits us because its minimal impact on plant down time while at the same time providing a wide range of non-invasive testing capabilities.”

José Luis Galindo, CEO of Enertis Solar, added: “Testing samples of modules when they are delivered to the construction site and prior to their installation can greatly reduce any risk of damage associated with PV module testing for our clients here in the UK.

“In the past they had to remove the panels from an operational site and ship them abroad for testing. We foresee that our mobile testing lab is going to bring great benefits to the UK’s solar PV market.”

With tier one PV module manufacturers running production lines at near capacity levels, recent studies by China-based STS-Certified noted that results showed the overall rate of defective PV modules from Chinese producers had reached 25.2% in the first nine months of 2013, representing an increase of 88% from the 13.4% defect rate observed by STS-Certified in 2012.