YOKOHAMA, Japan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TUV Rheinland has developed a new testing methodology to simulate long-term operational conditions that solar modules could experience throughout their lifetime. An accelerated test sequence for PV modules is designed to more accurately approximate real outdoor solar module behavior in a laboratory environment. This sequence has been designed specifically for this purpose and allows both manufacturers and end users to increase their confidence in the quality of PV modules.
Environmental factors affecting solar module lifetime include temperature (heat, freezing, night-day cycles), mechanical stress (wind, snow load and hail), atmosphere (salt mist, dust, sand, pollution) and humidity (rain, dew, frost, fog). These inevitable forces lead to the degradation of solar modules and may significantly reduce the expected output power over time.
TUV Rheinland's Long-term sequential testing goes above and beyond the requirements of the IEC 61215 standard with a test sequence that is approximately 9 months long and is intended to evaluate the degradation of solar modules affected by multiple external variables. The sequence consists of 4 major sub-component tests: damp heat, thermal cycling, humidity freezing, and bypass diode. The PLUS components are the optional plug-in tests for hot-spots, hail and mechanical load tests. Due to the harshness of the sequence, only a limited number of products will be able to pass these tests, as a single test module is put through this test sequence and the degradation in power generated is measured after each stage.
"Some module manufacturers have already shown interest in our new test method. Now that the market is promising up to 25 years of life for a PV module, end users are asking for more evidence to give them confidence in a solar investment. TUV Rheinland's Long-term sequential testing does not guarantee that the product will be as perfect in 25 years as when it was purchased, but it can help manufacturers to better understand how their modules may behave after being in use for a long time. Until now this was only possible through real outdoor lifetime testing", says Mr. Stefan Kiehn, Head of the PV testing facilities at TUV Rheinland Japan.
Kyocera Corporation, the first customer for this new service, has already completed major milestones in the tests with positive results. *Kyocera Solar Energy: http://global.kyocera.com/prdct/solar/
Around 80% of all solar module manufacturers have their products tested at TUV Rheinland, in order to obtain national and international certification. TUV Rheinland operates test laboratories for solar modules worldwide, including test centres in Cologne (Germany), Shanghai (China), Taichung (Taiwan), Tempe Arizona (USA), Bangalore (India) and two facilities in Yokohama (Japan).
TUV Rheinland is a leading group in third party certification of product safety and quality.