The document is the world’s first of its kind, covering project certification and related verification tasks during planning, design, manufacturing, transport and installation, commissioning and operation of photovoltaic power plants and is designed to demonstrate the quality, performance and safety of a solar project. As the solar industry in emerging markets such as India is growing at a rapid pace, demand for certified solar projects is rising.

According to a forecast by Frost & Sullivan, the global capacity of PV power projects is set to increase to 446GW by 2020, with India and China leading the way in new installations. By the end of 2015, India is expected to install more than 2GW of total capacity which is triple the amount of 2014, according to industry expert Mercom Capital Group.

However, lack of expertise and the risk of technical failures during planning, manufacturing, installation, commissioning or parametrizing of components in younger solar markets can hamper the efficiency of plants in the emerging markets. As the deployment of PV technology in Asia is in a less mature stage compared to many Western countries, there is a strong interest and demand from Private Equity investors for certified PV power plants in the Asia Pacific region.

To mitigate threats to the project for investors, insurance companies, plant operators and grid operators, and to increase quality and performance of solar plants, DNV GL developed the world’s first documents for certification of photovoltaic power plants. The service specification addresses the certification of existing power plants as well.

Dr. Chakradhar Byreddy, Head of Renewables Certification Asia Pacific at DNV GL notes: "While reverse bidding helps to reduce the cost of energy, currently there are no checks and balances to ensure quality of installations over the life of Power Purchasing Agreements. Therefore, implementation of PV plant certification as a mandatory requirement during the bidding process can alleviate the risk for investors and taxpayers. This PV plant certification helps to verify a high quality standard of a project, which in turns benefits the Private Equity investor during exit valuation. With this new specification, DNV GL is ideally positioned to help our customers comply with local requirements and demonstrate the safe and secure energy production throughout the power plants’ life cycle."

Project certification of PV power plants across all phases of the project lifecycle is unique in the market, allowing certification of pre- and post-construction projects and addresses the requirements for planning, components and constructions of the plants. The certification implements the performance ratio at site specific conditions and design, while taking the latest regulatory, legislative and technological market developments into account.

Dr. Matthias-Klaus Schwarz, Head of Section Electrical System at DNV GL added: "The fast growth of the solar industry is an integral part of the energy transition. Going forward, PV plants will become a significant part of the future electricity generation. Our service specification for the certification of PV power plants captures all vital technical and procedural requirements to obtain independent and high quality third party verification for each of the certification phases for PV power plant projects – from project inception to construction, installation and operation."