April 7, 2011

Manufacturers Now Have Faster, More Cost-Effective Testing Options With Single Laboratory Able to Certify for Countries Worldwide

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, April 7 /PRNewswire/ – To speed entry for solar panel
manufacturers into the North American and international markets, a new
laboratory opened today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that offers
worldwide certification services from one location.

CFV Solar Test Laboratory, a photovoltaic (PV) certification test company, is jointly owned by
CSA Group, VDE Testing and Certification Institute, Fraunhofer
Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and Fraunhofer USA Center for
Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE).

The CFV laboratory offers complete certification and non-certification
testing services for PV technologies not readily available at other
test locations, including flat panel, thin film and concentrating PV
(CPV) testing. The facility will help manufacturers to enter the market
more rapidly and at lower cost, as the laboratory can simultaneously
certify solar panels for use in multiple countries and meet the unique
standards for each country.

Driven by global needs for renewable energy and growing environmental
demands, solar panel manufacturing and installation is roughly a $40
billion dollar industry worldwide, and will approach $100 billion by
2014, according to industry estimates. In North America, the utility PV
market reached $1 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach $8 billion
by 2015, according to GTM Research.

Solar panels require testing and certification to assure the safety,
longevity and proper operations. Different countries worldwide have
diverse standards for solar panel certification, making the testing
process complex and costly for manufacturers.

“Solar panels are high-voltage electrical devices – often being placed
in very close proximity to people in offices and homes – that must be
properly tested and certified as being safe and effective in generating
power,” said Ash Sahi, president and CEO, CSA Group. “We are proud to
be one of the partners in this joint venture as no other solar testing
facility offers the complete range of services and global capabilities
as this new laboratory.”

Testing in the 25,000-square foot indoor lab will include climate
chambers for thermal cycling and humidity freeze up of panels to 4m x
2.5m; a large area AAA+ rated solar simulator with temperature
controlled enclosure for performance measurements; and access to a
five-acre outdoor testing area with single and two-axis trackers for
accelerated light soaking and CPV testing. The joint venture combines
Fraunhofer’s technical expertise and extensive research capabilities
with CSA Group and VDE’s solar certification proficiency, creating a
new center of excellence for PV module testing.

“We are very excited to start this new venture in Albuquerque, New
Mexico,” said Dr. Christian Hoepfner, director of technical operations
at Fraunhofer CSE and president of CFV Solar Test Laboratory. “This new
test laboratory will be instrumental in bringing new PV technologies
and products to the market, while maintaining the excellent PV industry
track record with regards to safety and product quality. The
co-location with a Fraunhofer research group will help CFV to stay at
the cutting edge of PV technology.”

“Our generations of international experience have shown that customer
trust and an excellent reputation with authorities can be achieved and
maintained only by ensuring independence, neutrality, and
uncompromising quality,” said Wilfried Jäger, managing director of the
VDE Testing and Certification Institute. “We look forward to applying
our highest standards in working with customers in this dynamic and
exciting industry, together with our joint venture partners. We believe
our bundled services are truly unique and perfectly tailored to
industry needs.”

“From other markets we learned that accurate and efficient testing,
backed by profound R&D expertise, is a key element for quick deployment
of the PV industry,” said Dr. Harry Wirth, head of department
photovoltaic modules, systems and reliability at Fraunhofer ISE. “Our
joint venture has the capabilities to provide the required
comprehensive services.”

About CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit membership association
serving business, industry, government and consumers. CSA
Group consists of three divisions: CSA Standards, a leading standards-based solutions organization,
providing standards development, application products, training and
advisory services; CSA International, which provides testing and
certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a
variety of other products; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product
evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and
manufacturers. For more, visit www.csagroup.org

About The VDE Testing and Certification Institute
The VDE Testing and Certification Institute is an independent
institution which is nationally and internationally accredited. Headed
by Wilfried Jäger, managing director, the VDE Institute is responsible
for testing and certifying the safety and performance of electronic
devices, components and systems for consumers and the general public by
applying the highest standards of quality. Since 1920, the VDE mark has
stood for safety and quality in electrical and information technology.

The Institute’s independent test engineers subject more than 100,000
electric and electronic products a year to rigorous tests before
affixing the VDE mark. VDE experts supervise over 7,000 manufacturing
plants throughout the world. Cooperation agreements with more than 50
countries ensure that the inspections conducted by the VDE Institute
are internationally recognized. More than 200,000 product families and
well over a million individual products worldwide carry VDE
certification marks. The non-profit VDE Testing and Certification
Institute in Offenbach, Germany, employs around 450 staff members. In
the course of establishing a global network of local facilities, with a
focus on Asia, the Institute has increased its staff by 300 employees
to handle local testing and inspections. For more, visit www.vde.com

About Fraunhofer ISE and CSE
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the leading organization for applied research
in Europe with 59 research institutes and 17,000 employees.  Fraunhofer
USA, Inc. is a non-profit applied research organization headquartered
in Plymouth, Michigan with six research centers that collaborate with
major universities throughout the U.S.  www.fraunhofer.org

One of Fraunhofer USA’s research centers is the Center for Sustainable
Energy Systems CSE, located in Cambridge, MA. Fraunhofer CSE is an applied research and development laboratory dedicated to the
commercialization of clean energy technologies. CSE engages in contract
research and development with private companies, government entities,
and academic institutions. Current research focuses on PV module design
and manufacturing and energy efficient building technologies. cse.fraunhofer.org/

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, located in
Freiburg, Germany is the largest solar energy research institute in
Europe. The Institute is committed to promoting energy supply systems
which are sustainable, economic, safe and socially just.  ISE develops
materials, components, systems and processes for seven different
business areas: Energy-Efficient Buildings and Technical Building
Components, Applied Optics and Functional Surfaces, Solar Thermal
Technology, Silicon Photovoltaics, Alternative Photovoltaic Technology,
Renewable Power Generation and Hydrogen Technology.  ISE operates
several testing centers for various solar technologies and in the
building sector. www.ise.fraunhofer.de


Source: newswire

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