Project Name: Application of Manufacturing Quality Management Principles to PV System Installations
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Manufacturing and Competitiveness
Location: Ashburn, VA
SETO Award Amount: $1,489,675
Awardee Cost Share: $374,094
Principal Investigator: Paul Hancher

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project is developing a cloud-based quality management (QM) software platform where solar installers, building inspectors, and other local and regional stakeholders can access sophisticated information about solar installation QM. The platform includes a quality scoring system and quality feedback loop for solar installations. This software tool will reduce the overall costs of solar installation solar by helping to standardize and streamline the inspection and QM processes, thus reducing financial risk.

APPROACH

The project team is holding discussions with a wide range of stakeholders to determine what functionality is needed for the QM platform. These discussions will steer decisions about how to design and test the software. After the alpha version of the product has been thoroughly tested, it will enter the beta stage, in which the software will be used and tested by another group of stakeholders. The project team will collect feedback and make final changes to the software before seeking to expand its use by municipalities and other potential users.

INNOVATION

The software under development will standardize processes associated with inspection and QM of solar installations and create a uniform way to track and score their quality. The software will allow jurisdictions and installation companies to increase the quality and accuracy of the installation inspection process and provide a feedback loop to make quality improvements, leading to reduction in costs and financial risks. The longer-term goal of this work is to use uniform measurements and education to reduce the levelized cost of energy for solar, making it even more price-competitive with other energy sources.