TÜV Rheinland launches new power rating suite

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The TÜV Rheinland Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory has launched a new power rating suite for PV modules to provide validated performance assessments under a wide range of real outdoor environmental conditions.

The service would provide advanced evaluation information for banks, investors, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors and other stakeholders.

According to the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs), the broader range of testing TÜV Rheinland is offering is essential.

"Manufacturers typically rate PV modules at standard test conditions (STC)," said the Solar ABCs. "The STC ratings involves only one temperature (25oC), one irradiance (1000 W/m2), and one sunlight spectrum (AM1.5G). However, the actual energy production of field-installed PV modules is a result of a range of operating temperatures, irradiances, and sunlight spectra. Therefore, there is an urgent need to characterize PV modules at different temperatures and irradiances to provide more comprehensive rating information."

TÜV Rheinland PTL director Bill Shisler said the TÜV Rheinland facility was one of the only testing laboratories that measures PV module power rating outdoors under natural sunlight.

"Our clients may now get an advanced performance characterization from an accredited laboratory of their product that can be used to more accurately model how their product will perform under many scenarios. Our comprehensive power rating suite provides more confidence for investors of PV," Shisler added.

The testing lab’s engineering evaluation services include a complete irradiance vs. temperature matrix; spectral response; incident angle effects; the best practices for evaluating light induced degradation (LID) and module operating temperature as a function of wind speed; ambient temperature; and irradiance incident on the module.

The power rating suite uses a statistical method of sampling to report entire lots of PV modules.

TÜV Rheinland PTL offers the s service to all countries and regions and there are no limitations to the type or certification of a product to be tested per IEC 61853. Additional services offered include validation to EN 50380, UL Subject 4730, Sandia, ASTM E2527 and emerging IEC standards for PV and CPV as well as module performance modeling parameters for energy prediction.

A leading testing service provider for the solar industry, TÜV Rheinland boasts a network of more than 200 solar industry specialists in eight laboratories worldwide, including facilities in the U.S. city of Tempe, Arizona; Bangalore, India; Gyeongsan, Korea; Cologne, Germany; Osaka and Yokohama, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Taichung, Taiwan.