CFV Solar Test Laboratory, a PV certification test company owned by the CSA Group, VDE Testing and Certification Institute, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems has officially opened its doors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The center will offer solar panel manufactures in North America and international markets worldwide certification services from one location.
The CFV lab has complete certification and non-certification testing services for PV technologies including flat panel, thin-film and concentrating PV (CPV) testing. The center maintains that it can assist manufacturers enter the PV market in a quicker and cost effective way since the laboratory can certify solar panels for use in several countries while meeting the standards for each location.
“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 of CSA Group.
The 25,000 square foot indoor facility has climate chamber 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 a five-acre outdoor testing area with single and two-axis trackers.
“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.”