The growth of the photovoltaics market has been driven by the demand for greener power sources and by increased government subsidy. To justify the subsidies given, governments require certified testing of photovoltaic modules for safety and quality. The incentive to improve performance could not be greater.
Photovoltaic Module Certification
performance in the manufacture of photovoltaic modules. Certified PV modules reach the
market with both a proven life span and the guarantee of a lack of defects that could
potentially have a detrimental effect on performance. The testing of PV modules is also now
as quick and thorough as it has ever been.
CB certification is recognized by all CB Scheme member countries and often offers a
shortcut to other national approval marks. Thus the benefits of certification are increased
through CB certification and in addition, the CB certified PV module can enjoy the good
reputation and greater market access that the CB Scheme offers to CB qualified products.
Protecting PV Systems Means Assuring Quality
Other services apart from PV module certification assure the high quality of PV systems
(BOS) - these include quality testing, pre-qualification testing and the certification of facilities
and large systems.
It stands to reason that pre-qualification testing can help identify potential design flaws for
manufacturers in the vital, early stages. Design flaws impede progress, increase customer
frustration and often affect manufacturer reputation. For importers and distributors, quality
testing along the supply chain is integral to the control of and monitoring of liability. In
addition, pre-shipment controls and load and unload inspections are essential in the country
of manufacture in order to ensure the compliance of the products for shipping with the quality
of certified samples.
PV Systems Standards and Safety Tests
PV systems are subject to three standards: IEC 61730 part 1 and 2 are the safety standards
for all module technologies; IEC 61215 is specific to polycrystalline silicon module
performance and type qualification; and IEC 61646 covers Thin Film modules' performance
and type qualification. Safety tests verify critical features of PV modules, including dielectric
resistance as well as resistance to current surges and leakages. Other safety critical
components that undergo rigorous testing include access to elements under tension,
grounding, and the measurement of insulation for both humid and freezing conditions.
Performance testing focuses on efficiency and durability, so for example, power efficiency,
UV resistance, resistance to breakage caused by persons, objects or adverse weather
conditions such as hail and so on are all measured. Compliance with directives such as
RoHS and REACH is considered very important and PV systems can also certify for
conformity with these pieces of legislation.
If PV modules are to be utilized under severe weather conditions, customers are advised to
seek additional performance certifications and guarantees, including for example, ammonia
resistance, heavy snow load or desert resistance. In addition, if the PV module is to be
installed in a coastal region, tests against salt mist corrosion resistance are also highly
One Stop Quality Assurance
SGS can support the manufacturers, importers and distributors of PV modules throughout
the entire life cycle of PV modules and systems. SGS offers various PV testing laboratories
in key locations and markets, with all being ISO 17025 accredited and all offering the full
range of PV testing and certification services. The SGS Solar Test House in Dresden,
Germany is a particularly fine example of SGS' expertise in PV module testing services.
Power inverters are covered by IEC 62109-1 and SGS-CEBEC offers safety testing for these
as well as large PV systems. SGS can also offer ‘connection/disconnection from grid'
certification, ensuring that voltage fluctuations remain within required limits when connection
is made to networks of medium voltage. Through its SSC (Systems and Services
Certification) division, SGS also verifies electrical installations that have adopted or added
photovoltaic systems or have undergone other such major adaptations.
For further details please contact:
SGS Consumer Testing Services
Business Manager Photovoltaics, CTS Microelectronics & Photovoltaics, Solar Testhouse
Zeisigweg 13, 01737 Hartha, Germany
t: +49 35203 390 910
SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is
recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With 64'000 employees, SGS
operates a network of over 1'250 offices and laboratories around the world.