The integration of NFC chips into its panels has helped German PV module manufacturer AE Solar pioneer a solution against piracy in the solar industry.

Piracy problems are not new in the solar industry. The worst hit firms are those that are already known, well established and trusted on the market.

Dishonest entrepreneurs take undue advantage of the goodwill gained by others’ hard work and creativity by producing fake, low-quality PV (photo-voltaic) modules with a short lifetime and high degradation and market them under trustworthy brand names.

To tackle this worldwide challenge, German firm AE Solar has created a unique mobile app to check the authenticity of a PV module (colloquially referred to as solar panels). It does this by integrating NFC chips in all of its panels, allowing users to easily check their authenticity. This initiative sets an important worldwide precedent.

Just as important is the fact that the integration of this chip into every PV module does not affect its price, and is a valuable added benefit that customers get for free.

What it does

The innovation introduced by AE Solar, which makes high-quality PV modules, ensures that each of its partners and customers are guaranteed original product quality and warranty. Anyone with a smartphone can check in seconds the authenticity and origins of AE Solar’s products. The embedded NFC chip conveys all important information about the PV module almost immediately. It also allows the end consumer to interact with AE Solar, share his or her experience and get feedback from professionals. Directly communicating with the brand and tracking the panels using a cloud database is one of the great possibilities of this chip, which has an interactional system via its associated app.

How it works

The AE Solar app is available for every smartphone and is free to download. It allows customers to scan a PV module’s barcode and checks its authenticity. It also provides detailed information about the module. Users can also communicate directly with AE Solar professionals. The application requires NFC support and an internet connection. The app needs access to the camera. Free registration is available via email or Facebook.

In the future, AE Solar plans to integrate even smarter tools into its app, such as a program based on the panel function that provides monitoring and other solutions for solar systems that use AE Solar PV modules.