In September 2022, PI Berlin, fellow member of the Kiwa Group, reported in their 2022 PV Module Quality Report that cell defects are the number one issue found during module production oversight. During the >8 GW of factory oversight conducted by PI Berlin in 2021, cell defects represented one third of all observed defects, an increase from the what was observed in 2020.
With the introduction of 182 and 210 mm wafers, most module manufacturers implemented radical overhauls of their manufacturing processes to accommodate the shift to larger cell sizes. This meant the installation of new manufacturing equipment, including cell stringing machines designed to handle cells of different sizes with more electrical interconnects. Furthering the production complexity, new cell cutting processes introduced more risks to cell damage if the cutting was inaccurate.
The major technological shift of larger cells, while clearly a benefit to the industry in the long-term, has also presented a new challenge to maintaining consistent module quality. PI Berlin deployment to factories on behalf of module purchasers helps to ensure these issues are identified and remedied.