< Measuring the Spectral Irradiance of Solar Simulators for Solar Cell Calibrations

Online course: PV Module Performance Measurements and Energy Rating

Authors: George Koutsourakis (NPL), James Blakesley (NPL)


The PV-Enerate consortium partners have created an online course: 'PV Module Performance Measurements and Energy Rating'. The course is free to access to anyone. The aim of this course is to Introduce the audience to PV module metrology for power and energy rating, describe the necessary components, equipment and procedures for measurements of PV modules according to international standards and act as a good practice guide for scientists, technicians and laboratories. This course also covers energy rating and establishes a good practice guide for energy rating measurements of PV modules and uncertainty calculations. Students will also be introduced into guidelines in measuring non-conventional PV devices, such as bifacial PV modules.

The course is funded by the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme and is free to use.

Course content

The course content is summarised below:

Module 1

      1. Introduction
      2. Solar simulators in photovoltaic (PV) applications - Technology, classification and calibration
      3. Reference cells and calibration

Module 2

      1. Measurement of current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of solar cells and modules
      2. Determination of temperature coefficients
      3. Spectral responsivity of PV modules and spectral mismatch calculation

Module 3

      1. Energy rating
      2. Angular response measurements
      3. Measurements of bifacial photovoltaic devices

At the end of the course, you will:

  • Understand the need and importance of measurement accuracy in PV module power measurements and energy rating
  • Understand the importance, different types, components and calibration procedures of solar simulators and reference cells
  • Be able to apply accurate I-V measurements according to the standard guidelines
  • Be able to implement temperature coefficient measurements according to standard guidelines
  • Be able to implement spectral response measurements and apply spectral mismatch corrections according to standard guidelines
  • Understand the importance and principles of energy rating
  • Know how to generate an irradiance-temperature performance matrix according to the standard requirements
  • Be able to implement angular response measurements according to standard guidelines
  • Be aware of the considerations when measuring bifacial PV modules


The course is hosted by NPL's e-learning training resource and can be accessed using the link https://elearning.npl.co.uk/course/view.php?id=50 (or by browsing NPL's online course catalogue https://training.npl.co.uk/sector/e-learning-courses/). This will lead to the page below. Users will need to register to the online resource (free registration) and then log in with the created account as can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The log-in page for accessing the PV Module Performance Measurements and Energy Rating online course. New users will have to register to the resource (free registration).

Once logged in, users can start going through the course at their own pace. The progress made is saved and when a user accesses the course later, the progress can continue from the last saved point. The course has no limited time access and users can go through it as many times as they like. Screenshots of the course are presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Screenshots of the online course: On the left, the initial page for Module 1. On the right, the initial page for Lesson 2 of Module 1: Solar simulators in photovoltaic (PV) applications - Technology, classification and calibration.