PV+Test: TÜV Rheinland and Solarpraxis launching new test program
Photovoltaic modules put to the test - new program to bring transparency for buyers
The experts from TÜV Rheinland together with Solarpraxis AG from Berlin have launched a new comparative test for photovoltaic modules used to generate electricity from solar energy: In the future PV+Test will answer the questions about what is a "good" solar module – those that will perform after even twenty years and return the power estimated in the original yield forecast. PV+Test has now been launched with eight module types under trial. The new test program is open to all manufacturers and will be continually expanded. "Through this independent and comprehensive audit by TÜV Rheinland, step by step a reliable, accurate comparable overview of the high-quality solar modules on the market will come into being" said Dr. Michael Fuhs, Editor in Chief of the trade magazine photovoltaik (German language) that will regularly publish the test results printed and online under www.photovoltaik.eu/pv-test/.
The modules are purchased anonymously in normal outlets and then subjected to several months of testing in the Cologne laboratories of TÜV Rheinland. Wilhelm Vaaßen, Head of Business for renewable energy and solar expertise at TÜV Rheinland: "Key elements of the test are the output performance, resistance to aging, electrical safety, workmanship, documentation and installation instructions, together with ease of installation and warranty."Module aging, for example, will be tested in climate chambers at 85 degrees Celsius with 85 percent humidity: The modules will be tested for 1,500 hours under these conditions. A temperature cycle test over almost 40 days is mandatory too. Here, the temperature is varied between 85 and -40 degrees Celsius in 200 cycles, placing extreme demands on the quality and workmanship of the modules.
Ongoing performance measurements, performed before the tests and after each test phase, are particularly important. Some 25 different tests and test criteria have been developed in the past two years jointly by TÜV Rheinland and Solarpraxis in consultation with an advisory committee of 35 experts from the solar industry. The assessment follows the German school grading system: In the first test Schott Solar (Schott Poly 290) and Sharp (NU-180E1) were almost able to achieve the top grade; Mitsubishi Electric (PV TD185MF5) and Conergy (PowerPlus 225P) only barely missed a "very good". In addition, the Sovello (SV-X-195-fa1) and Perfect Solar (PS230-6P-TOP) managed a "good".
Wilhelm Vaaßen: "Our goal is to create a broadly based new program in the market that rewards the good types of modules and provides accurate descriptions." The continuous and up-to-date comparability of the PV+Test results will also be guaranteed through the module test being given an “expiration date” - after 18 months the modules will automatically fall out of the system and must be re-tested. "This will ensure that the current state of the art is always reflected for modules and test methods."
Since PV+Test will also have an influence outside the German market, the results are also going to be published in the international magazine pv magazine, printed and online. pv magazine is published by Solarpraxis such as photovoltaik.
Further information is available in the Internet under www.pvtest.de and www.pv-magazine.com as well as www.tuv.com/presse and www.photovoltaik.eu.
Contacts for editorial questions:
Jörg Meyer zu Altenschildesche, TÜV Rheinland, Press, phone +49 (0)221 / 806-2255,
Dr. Michael Fuhs, Solarpraxis AG, Editor in Chief photovoltaik, phone +49 (0)30 / 72 62 96-303,