TÜV Rheinland launches certification program in Japan

German inspection and certification organization TÜV Rheinland has launched a certification program in Japan.

TÜV described the new service as a “triumph” for project owners, EPC service providers and other industry stakeholders, claiming that it is providing another way for financiers to conduct technical due diligence on projects as Japan starts to transition away from its feed-in tariff (FIT) program from April 2017.

The third-party service includes company qualification, inspections, and a certification methodology to assess the quality, performance and safety of solar projects.

“Distributed commercial PV systems continue to emerge rapidly around the world, and in Japan this middle segment represents the largest market,” the Cologne-based organization said.

Access to financing is driving the growth of distributed-generation PV projects, especially in the middle market segment, which mainly includes factory rooftops.

TÜV Rheinland said it could help to encourage financial institutions to invest in smaller, distributed PV projects in Japan by providing affordable technical quality assessments.

With this in mind, it has significantly slashed its technical evaluation costs to enhance the appeal of its new service offering by systematically minimizing technical risks and offering proof of its assessments.

In preparation for the emergence of a secondary market for operational solar assets, the service also allows third-party certification of PV arrays to be transferred to new owners when projects are refinanced.

“This increases the PV asset value, allowing for a full range of new commercial flexibility and benefits in the current and future solar securitization market,” TÜV Rheinland said.

“This certification opens many new commercial opportunities for all types of initial and resale transactions of PV power plants.”

It believes that the service, which has already been used to certify more than 42 MW of capacity built by Osaka-based Tess Engineering, will eventually be implemented throughout the Asia-Pacific region.?