British certification body the BBA and the Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin are to unveil a new inspection process for PV power plants at Solar Energy UK next week.

The PQ Rating is a method for rapidly evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of PV projects due to be bought and sold on the burgeoning secondary market.

The ‘Photovoltaic Plant – Performance and Quality Inspection’ is aimed at larger projects, of 1MW or more.

It involves an expert report that rates projects on a scale of one to 10 against various criteria, including contractual agreements, plant layout and installation, the module quality and overall performance. If the PV project scores less than the minimum threshold, the experts classify it as carrying too much risk.

“In the UK, existing PV power plants frequently change owners. However, investors are only willing to commit money and banks only agree to refinance projects if they have technical assurance of a plant’s quality. This is why we have joined forces with the renowned PI Berlin to develop a rating system to give buyers and lenders peace of mind,” said Claire Curtis-Thomas, chief executive at the BBA.

The document opens with a two-page overview of the plant's quality. “In less than a minute, prospective buyers and lenders can see how promising or risky the solar power plant in question really is,” Curtis-Thomas added.

The BBA and PI-Berlin will be presenting the PQ rating service at booth 158 at SEUK in Birmingham next week.