Introduction to Solar Panel Certifications (2023 Guide)

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Content:

  • Why Is Solar Panel Testing andCertification so Important?
  • Are the Agencies Responsible for SettingStandards for Solar Panel Certification and for Testing and Certification the same?
  • What Are Some Common Solar PanelCertifications?
  • What Are the Leading Testing andCertification Agencies for the Solar Panel Industry in Europe?
  • Future Trends in Solar PanelCertification

Why Is Solar Panel Testing and Certification so Important?

The examination and accreditation of solar panels is paramount for multiple pivotal reasons:

Ensurance of Quality and Safety: It's vital to have solar panels examined and accredited to ascertain they fulfill rigorous quality and safety benchmarks. This cultivates trust among consumers and enterprises concerning the dependability and safety of their venture. Given that solar panels produce electricity and endure various environmental adversities, safety is supremely significant to mitigate electrical and fire peril risks.

Validation of Performance and Ecological Repercussions: The testing of solar panels verifies performance attributes like efficiency, energy yield, and robustness, which are indispensable for reliable and effective solar energy systems. Certifications also affirm compliance with industry, national, and global norms and standards, easing market approval and eligibility for incentives. They provide consumers assurance regarding the prolonged operational life of solar panels, expected to function for beyond 25 years. Moreover, certifications foster industry investigation, propelling technological progress and efficiency, whilst also steering consumers towards environmentally considerate options by evaluating environmental sustainability.

In essence, the testing and certification of solar panels ascertain safety, quality, and functionality, engendering confidence in clean energy alternatives, and aiding the expansion of the solar energy sector.

Ensurance of Quality and Safety

Are the Agencies Responsible for Setting Standards for Solar Panel Certification and for Testing and Certification the Same?

The entities involved in the standard setting and certification of solar panels are typically distinct, each playing a unique role in the certification trajectory.

PV Industry Certification Standard-Setting Agencies: These consist of non-profit or governmental bodies, including the likes of IEC, ISO, UL, and NREL, tasked with crafting performance, safety, and quality benchmarks for solar panels. They delineate requisite criteria for products to cater to both global and domestic markets. Their purview is centered around standard formulation rather than testing. Besides, CE and MCS emerge as prevalent certification standards within the PV arena. The CE (Conformité Européenne) marking is a self-proclamation by manufacturers showcasing their products' adherence to European Union (EU) standards and regulations. On the other hand, MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) is a UK-centric certification initiative aimed at assuring the quality and efficacy of microgeneration and renewable energy technologies.

Testing and Certification Entities: These independent laboratories or bodies, such as TÜV SÜD, TÜV NORD, TÜV Rheinland, ECM, and Intertek, are empowered to evaluate and affirm solar panels' conformity with designated standards and regulations. They undertake performance, safety, and quality examinations.

Are the Agencies Responsible for Setting Standards for Solar Panel Certification and for Testing and Certification the Same?

What Are Some Common Solar Panel Certifications?

Common types of solar panel standards and certifications found in Europe include: IEC, CE, UL, ISO, MCS and UL

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1.IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) operates as a non-profit entity, formulating global standards for electronic apparatus, encompassing photovoltaic (PV) panels. It's crucial to acknowledge that the IEC does not engage in the actual testing or certification of panels; instead, they delineate the standards which are adhered to by other testing establishments.

(1) IEC 61215: Standards for Crystalline Silicon Terrestrial PV Modules

IEC 61215 serves as a core testing standard for residential solar panels. Adherence to IEC 61215 standards indicates that a solar panel module has effectively endured diverse stress tests, showcasing high-quality, performance, and safety.

IEC 61215 standards are relevant to both monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV modules, which are the most common types of solar panels. For varied solar electric technologies, like thin-film solar products, the IEC has set forth separate testing standards (e.g., IEC 61646).

Solar panels meeting IEC 61215 standards undergo comprehensive testing, including but not limited to:

1.Evaluation of electrical characteristics (wet leakage current, insulation resistance)

Mechanical load testing (wind and snow)

2.Climate tests (hot spots, UV exposure, humidity-freeze, damp heat, hail impact, outdoor exposure)

3.Furthermore, IEC 61215 tests aid in determining a panel’s performance metrics under standard test conditions (STC), which include temperature coefficient, open-circuit voltage, and maximum power output.

What Are Standard Test Conditions (STC)?

Solar panel performance assessments take place under controlled laboratory settings referred to as Standard Test Conditions (STC). STC has a standard condition: standard test conditions air temperature 25 degrees, atmospheric mass AM1.5 , 1000W/m2. Since these conditions remain uniform throughout the industry, it enables the comparison of performance metrics, including power rating, module efficiency, optimal voltage, and more, among various solar panels.

(2) IEC 61730: Standard for PV Module Safety

Similar to other electronic devices, solar panels pose a risk of electrical shock if not crafted correctly. IEC 61730 tackles the safety facets of solar panels, covering an evaluation of module construction and testing prerequisites to assess electrical, mechanical, thermal, and fire safety. PV modules that effectively clear IEC 61730 tests demonstrate a low risk associated with these kinds of hazards.

(3) IEC 62716: Ammonia Corrosion Testing of Photovoltaic (PV) Modules

For those living near farms or agricultural zones, IEC 62716 is crucial for evaluating a module's resistance to ammonia exposure. While the majority of users might not face high concentrations of ammonia concerning their PV modules, individuals setting up solar panel systems close to farms and livestock should be vigilant. Ammonia corrosion can hasten panel degradation, resulting in diminished electricity generation over the system's lifespan.

(4) IEC 61701: Salt Mist Corrosion Testing

For those lucky enough to set up solar panels in beachfront areas, it's recommended to verify if the panels have successfully cleared IEC 61701 tests. These tests entail subjecting panels to controlled salt sprays. Post the sprays, testers examine the modules for physical damage, like corrosion or delamination, and evaluate their electrical output and overall performance. Panels that fulfill the criteria of IEC 61701 testing are a suitable selection for beachfront solar panel systems or those near roads where salting levels are elevated during the winter.

(5) IEC 60068-2-68: Blowing Sand Resistance Testing

Certain solar panels are subjected to IEC 60068-2-68 testing to assess their durability in sandy desert conditions. Regular exposure to abrasive sand can result in physical or mechanical defects over time. Hence, if you are considering installing solar panels in an area susceptible to sand or dust storms, it's recommended to opt for panels that have successfully cleared these tests to improve the durability of your system.

Maysun Solar subjects the production process to regular inspections by external agencies such as TUV and SGS. Our production lines are automated and this is realised throughout the entire process, including component quality inspection as well as quality inspection during and after production. All glass-glass and single-glass solar panels from Maysun Solar have successfully passed Standards for Crystalline Silicon Terrestrial PV Modules Testing, Standard for PV Module Safety Testing, Salt Mist Corrosion Testing and Ammonia Corrosion Testing, and we have obtained the relevant certifications.

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2.CE (Conformité Européenne)

Conformité Européenne (CE) is appended to products to denote compliance with regulations laid out by the European Union, acting as a Verification Certificate. In the current scenario, the relevant geographic area covers the European Economic Area (EEA), which not only includes the 28 European Union (EU) member states but also extends to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. The CE mark indicates that the product has been fabricated in line with the safety, health, and environmental prerequisites of the EU.