Certifications ensure that PV modules that reach the market have a proved life span and are free of defects that could lead, among others, to a loss of performance in the long run. With the worldwide number of PV testing labs constantly growing the certification of photovoltaics modules has never been faster nor more complete.
The benefits of a certification can be further increased through CB certifications which are recognized in all CB Scheme member countries and thus offer a shortcut to national approval marks. Furthermore, the good reputation enjoyed by the CB Scheme around the world will make the market access process much easier for CB certified PV modules.
Quality Assurance Measures Protect Investments in PV Systems
Beside PV module certification, there are other services that ensure the high quality of PV systems (BOS): quality testing, pre-qualification testing and certification of large systems and facilities.
For manufacturers, pre-qualification testing will help identify any potential design flaws at an early stage. Design flaws can not only cause considerable problems and frustrations for customers but will dent the manufacturer’s reputation. For importers and distributors supply chain quality testing will also be a way of covering their liability. Through pre-shipment controls and load/ unload inspections in the manufacturing country, they can ensure that the products to be shipped match the quality of the samples that were certified.
There are three standards for PV Systems. IEC 61730 part 1 and 2 is the safety standard for all module technologies, while IEC 61215 is specific for polycrystalline silicon module performance and type qualification. Finally, IEC 61646 covers performance and type qualification of Thin Film modules.
Safety tests for PV modules measure dielectric resistance, as well as resistance to surges and leakage currents. They verify critical elements such as access to elements under tension, grounding, the insulation for humid and for freezing conditions.
Performance tests, meanwhile, focus on power efficiency, UV resistance, resistance to breakage caused by persons, objects or weather conditions such as hail, etc. Compliance with various directives, such as RoHS or REACH is also important and can be certified.
If the solar modules will be deployed in regions with severe weather conditions, customers should look for additional performance certifications, like ammonia resistance, heavy snow load or desert resistance. If the modules will be installed in coastal regions it is recommended to test against salt mist corrosion resistance.
Complete Quality Assurance Solutions under One Roof
SGS is fully prepared to support manufacturers as well as importers and distributors throughout the entire lifecycle of PV modules and systems.
The SGS Solar Test House located in Dresden (Germany) and other PV labs located in key markets are ISO 17025 accredited and offer the full range of PV testing and certification services.
Furthermore, the SGS-Cebec division offers safety testing for power inverters, which is covered by IEC 62109-1. For large PV systems, SGS also offers a “connection / disconnection from grid" certification, which ensures that voltage fluctuations remain within acceptable limits when connecting to medium voltage networks.
Finally, through its SSC division (Systems and Services Certification) SGS can verify electrical installations that have undergone major adaptations, such as the addition of a photovoltaic system.
I. A. Jörn Brembach
CTS Microelectronics and Photovoltaics
SGS Germany GmbH
t: +49 35203 390 910
Website: Solar Testing Services
The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognised as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With 64,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,250 offices and laboratories around the world.