Photovoltaic Modules

Qualifying and Certifying Photovoltaic Modules for You

High-quality photovoltaic (PV) modules are subject to a number of requirements. First, they have to deliver the guaranteed rated power reliably, while withstanding an extremely wide range of environmental conditions. They must also be safe and durable, ensuring the system’s high yield over the long term. And, they should also be able to generate the total amount of energy that was used to manufacture them in the shortest possible time. To top things off, they need to be commercially viable. But, with testing services from TÜV Rheinland, you can fully certify the quality of your PV modules. We can carry out comprehensive tests in our test laboratories that comply with applicable national and international standards.

Benefits at a Glance

With testing and certification services for your PV modules from TÜV Rheinland, you:

  • Profit from TÜV Rheinland’s 30 years of experience in the field of photovoltaics
  • Take advantage of our seven test laboratories, which offer you prompt, first-class service
    all over the world
  • Gain a partner that has earned worldwide acceptance
  • Earn the Certipedia quality seal – to prove that your PV modules have passed tests conducted according to national and international standards ensuring their high quality, safety, and reliability

Our services include

  • Qualification, certification, and co-OEM certification
  • Measurement of performance under standard test conditions and specific ambient conditions
  • Individual testing and random sample measurements of solar modules
  • Testing for special conditions, for example, for ammonium or transport loads
  • Prototype testing for development projects
  • Benchmarking of photovoltaic modules
  • Yield measurements, specifically energy yield
  • Long-term testing of open-air weathering in different climate zones
  • Assessment of light-ageing in thin-film modules
  • Application of analytical methods, including thermography and electroluminescence

Qualification and Certification of Photovoltaic Products

We test your standardized PV systems and PV components – including PV modules, grid-connected systems, power inverters, frames, cables, and connectors – according to national and international standards. If no applicable standards exist, our experts can carry out tests based on TÜV Rheinland specifications.

Certification Process

In addition to laboratory testing, certification of PV modules and PV components also covers the manufacturing facilities.

Laboratory Testing
In our accredited laboratory, we test selected samples to determine whether your products satisfy applicable standards. The test criteria – transparent to customers at all times – are documented along with the test results.

Manufacturing Testing
Our experts carry out additional periodic quality and product audits at your production facilities. That way, we can ensure that all PV modules are manufactured with the same materials and processes as the samples tested in the laboratory and that product quality is consistent.

Our Testing Laboratory

TÜV Rheinland’s PV laboratory is accredited in compliance with the DIN/EN/ISO/IEC 17025 norm and listed as a certification test laboratory by the worldwide certification system of the IECEE in the photovoltaics category. In addition, TÜV Rheinland LGA Products GmbH has been qualified as a national certification body.

Test Standards

  • IEC 61215: Crystalline silicon terrestrial PV modules, design qualification, and type approval
  • IEC 616146: Thin-film terrestrial PV modules, design qualification, and type approval
  • IEC 61730: PV module safety qualification, Parts 1 and 2; requirements for construction and testing, including protection class II
  • UL 1703 UL: Standard for safety flat-plate PV modules and panels; extended safety inspections for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)
  • IEC 62108: Design qualification and type approval of CPV (concentrator photovoltaic) modules according to IEC 62108:2007/EN 62108:2008
  • IEC 61701: Salt mist corrosion test; requirements of PV modules in salt-laden air

Research and Development

In the field of photovoltaics, our research focuses on the development of analytical, metrological, and test methods for PV modules as well as investigations into the feasibility of using accelerated ageing processes of PV modules for the purpose of improving the assessment of long-term behavior. Our participation in standardization committees enables us to ensure that the generally applicable testing requirements always correspond to the current state of the technology.

Overview of Research Topics

Our research topics include the following:

  • Measurement and test methods for performance characterization of PV modules
  • Test methods for accelerated ageing of PV modules
  • Analytical methods for PV modules, including electroluminescence, infrared, spectral analyses and polarization
  • Ageing behavior of PV modules under open-air weathering with different climate conditions
  • Determination of yield through maximum power point (MPP) tracking with changing exposure and temperature conditions
  • Simulation of mechanical stresses, for example, transport loads
  • Test methods for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)
  • Failure analyses
  • Participation in standardization committees at German, European, and international levels

International Co-operation Working on Performance and Reliability of Photovoltaic Systems

TÜV Rheinland coordinates an expert group of 33 international partners from industry and research in 18 countries, who work in Task 13 of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on “Performance and Reliability of Photovoltaic Systems“. The overall objective of Task 13 is to help market actors to improve the operation, the reliability and the quality of PV components and systems. Operational data of PV systems in different climate zones compiled within the project allow conclusions on the reliability and on yield estimations. Furthermore, the qualification and lifetime characteristics of PV components and systems are analysed, and technological trends identified.

The results of the work of Task 13 are published in technical reports and are disseminated during industry workshops and scientific conferences. One of the detailed technical reports describes the most common failures of PV modules and their impact of the important degradation mechanisms on power losses and safety.

The deliverables of Task 13 during 2010-2014, technical reports as well as PV Performance Database inluding operational data of PV plants in different climate zones, are available for download.

IEA R&D Projects

(New) Review of Failure of PV Modules

(New) Review of Failure of PV Modules

One key factor of reducing the costs of photovoltaic systems is to increase the reliability and the service life time of the PV modules. Today’s statistics show degradation rates of the rated power for crystalline silicon PV modules of 0.8%/year. To increase the reliability and the service life of PV modules one has to understand the challenges involved. For this reason, the international Task 13 expert team has summarized the literature as well as their knowledge and personal experiences on actual failures of PV modules.
The report can be found here (PDF, 8.28 MB) .

(New) Analytical Monitoring of Grid-Connected PV Systems

(New) Analytical Monitoring of Grid-Connected PV Systems

This report focuses on the analytical assessment of photovoltaic (PV) plant performance on the overall PV system level. In particular, this report provides detailed guidelines and comprehensive descriptions of methods and models used when analyzing grid-connected PV system performance.

The report can be found here (PDF, 3.96 MB) .

2013 IEA PVPS Annual Report

(New) Characterisation of Performances of Thin-Film PV Technologies

Although thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules have been in production for decades, the characterization of their performance, both outdoors and under artificial light, remains a topic of active research. This is because the field contains a diverse set of PV technologies, each of which has physical differences from conventional crystalline silicon PV. These differences range from different temperature coefficients to complex short-term or seasonal transients in performance. This report summarizes the nature of these special behaviours and demonstrates best practices for handling them in the context of several case studies.

The report can be found here (PDF, 4.52 MB) .