Fire protection plays an important rôle in Italy, and the country-specific requirements are even more stringent than the EU standard. Italy’s UNI 9177 fire protection regulation implements building authority fire safety requirements.
Only PV panels certified as fire class 1 may be installed without further determination of the roof materials used whereas, for all other modules, an additional layer of class 1 material has to be installed below.
The Italian test institute LAPI S.p.A. tested Sharp’s NU-JC360B and NU-JC370 panels and both achieved class 1 certification, the highest classification possible.
According to test standard UNI9174, modules are exposed to heat radiation and ignition source. The panels are evaluated in terms of flame propagation, speed, dripping behaviour and afterglow. Material flammability is also tested according to UNI8457.
Panels approved as fire class 1 are clearly preferred by Italian installers, since this simplifies compliance with building codes for PV installations.
Simon Betka, Sharp Energy Solutions’ country manager for Italy, commented: “The result of this fire resistance test is an award for fire safety behaviour and excellence of the materials used by Sharp Energy Solutions Europe in its photovoltaic modules. It is our goal to always offer the highest quality standard for all products and therefore also the highest fire safety class 1 for the country-specific requirement in Italy. By minimizing the risk of reaction to fire, Sharp modules simplify the work of installers, while assuring safety for the lifetime of a PV system.”