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Intersolar Europe 2013: TÜV Rheinland expands quality programme for solar investors

The provider of testing services for the solar industry, TÜV Rheinland, will be at Intersolar 2013 presenting new, practical testing services for investors, project developers, and installers of photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The firm - which recently launched a "world first" solar simulator for concentrated PV modules - says it will be presenting numerous technical innovation projects and new testing programmes for modules and components to the annual Intersolar trade fair in Munich from 19-21st June.

"The radical changes taking place in the global solar industry will inevitably lead to only high-quality suppliers surviving in the long run. This process is ongoing. We will continue to help create reliability, focus and security for all market participants," said Willi Vaaßen, head of the Solar Energy department at TÜV Rheinland.

New services offered as part of the latest developments of the quality programme include a quick performance check and quality benchmark for PV modules. The quality benchmark serves as independent, additional proof that modules supplied for a plant actually deliver the agreed properties. TÜV Rheinland does this by taking 10 modules per MW as test samples on-site.

The tests cover safety as well as quality of finishing, production and lamination – all key factors for the longevity of the product. The power output and behavior of the modules in terms of potential induced degradation have a direct impact on the performance of the solar park and are therefore an important part of the qualification programme.

Another new development is the quick performance check, which is designed as an in-project tool that delivers reliable project or manufacturer-specific information about the power output of the modules and about any damage or quality defects caused by micro-cracks in modules. Here, the required sample size for modules checked by TÜV Rheinland can be statistically calculated with software on the basis of the flasher measurements of the module manufacturer – with the aim of to reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

The idea is to have as few modules as possible – but as many as required – checked independently by TÜV Rheinland to ensure the incoming goods checks for the project are reliable. Over the course of just a few days, TÜV Rheinland then tests the power output at its laboratory and inspects the modules for damage e.g. via electroluminescence.

Alongside these services, TÜV Rheinland also offers yield forecasts and certification, assists with the selection of suitable sites, and helps with the tendering process, as well as – where necessary – with the preparation of a glare impact assessment for PV systems and power plants worldwide. Experts can also help with the plant implementation process through construction monitoring, plant safety testing, building inspection, and certification. Long-term operating efficiency is ensured through ongoing plant monitoring and periodic testing during operation. The major projects supervised in various countries include numerous power plants with outputs ranging as high as over 100 MWp.

Other topics for TÜV Rheinland at Intersolar 2013 include services for testing modules, components, and inverters, as well as various innovation projects in the industry. The Cologne-based laboratory of TÜV Rheinland has been approved by the German Accreditation Office (DAkkS) for the certification of PV inverters.

At the Intersolar trade fair, the company will demonstrate technical testing techniques for the manufacturers of inverters relating among other things to safety, the determination of efficiency, and grid connection conditions. Here, TÜV Rheinland has been approved to perform certification in accordance with all commonly used international and national standards.


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