New Tests Address Germany's Planned Building Regulations to Require Flammability Assessment for All Photovoltaic Modules and Solar Collectors
Tempe, AZ — August 6, 2012 — TÜV Rheinland PTL, North America's largest solar and photovoltaic (PV) testing company, is announcing that TÜV Rheinland and CURRENTA have developed new testing method based on DIN EN ISO 11925-2 in response to Germany's plan to include PV modules and solar collectors in the German Building Rules list by the end of 2012. The regulations will affect all PV modules and solar collectors, not just integrated systems in buildings.
For the first time, Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik in Berlin, a joint institution set up by the Federal Republic of Germany and the federal states, will subject solar products to building regulations. Once implemented, the German building products law will require that the manufacturer verify "normal flammability" of the collector or module in accordance with DIN EN 13501-1, class E, or B2, in accordance with DIN 4102-1, via a declaration. This obligation will be in addition to the requirements for solar collectors stated in the Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/EC and the requirements for PV modules stated in the Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC.
"Manufacturers of solar systems will be given more legal certainty but they will also need to satisfy new requirements," said Jörg Althaus, Head of Solar Energy at TÜV Rheinland. "Manufacturers must now declare ‘normal flammability' as a minimum product requirement via a declaration of conformity, which will now be required in addition to the CE declaration of the relevant European directives."
TÜV Rheinland has worked with the experts at CURRENTA on developing a new testing method, based on DIN EN ISO 11925-2, to determine the flammability of solar modules and collectors. When products are required to be flame-retardant or non-combustible (for example, in façade installations), a General Building Inspectorate Test Certificate will be required. Verification will be provided either in the form of a declaration of conformity or a conformity certificate from a recognized certification body. The verification document is a prerequisite for issuing the compliance mark required in Germany.
"We aim to provide manufacturers worldwide with a tool that delivers reliable fire behavior predictions for their products," said Althaus. "This gives them an accurate prediction that the material compounds are suitable for ‘normal flammability' classification to meet the upcoming building regulation requirements in Germany."
The new testing method incorporates findings from an extensive research project on preventive fire protection in PV systems conducted by TÜV Rheinland, along with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sonnenenergie (German Solar Energy Society), CURRENTA, the German Solar Industry Association, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and other partners.
In addition to the new tests, TÜV Rheinland verifies modules' resilience to the effects of external fire in accordance with IEC 61730 and ANSI/UL 1703. For more information, visit www.tuvptl.com or call TÜV Rheinland toll-free at 1-TUV-RHEINLAND (888-743-4652).
About TÜV Rheinland PTL, LLC
Based in Tempe, Ariz., TÜV Rheinland PTL, LLC is a leading provider of safety and performance testing and market certification, serving every sector of the photovoltaic and solar thermal marketplace, from the supply chain through installation. TÜV Rheinland PTL is a recognized OSHA NRTL for the UL standards and an American National Standards Institute Standards Developing Organization. TÜV Rheinland PTL was formed as a unique partnership between Arizona State University, an institution with more than 50 years of research on solar energy and extensive solar testing know-how, and TÜV Rheinland, a $1.9 billion global provider of independent testing, assessment, and certification services. With an international network across six continents, TÜV Rheinland maintains the largest network of Solar Energy Laboratories worldwide, with five major laboratories on three continents. For more information, visit www.tuvptl.com.