TUV Rheinland PTL opens solar PV testing, certification facility in Arizona

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TUV Rheinland PTL, a new private venture between TUV Rheinland and Arizona State University, opened last week during ceremonies held in Tempe, AZ. The photovoltaic lab is touted as one of the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated facilities for testing and certification of solar energy equipment.

The organization upgrades the technology and know-how of the former ASU Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (established in 1992) and moves from the old ASU PTL testing grounds in Mesa to a more strategic, centralized location in Tempe.

The 40,000-square-foot facility more than doubles its previous capacity and provides a one-stop source for clients to get full testing and certification for a wide range of safety and performance standards in use by the global industry, according to TUV PTL.

The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art solar simulators and temperature-humidity environments. Clients can benefit from full system testing for all photovoltaic system components, including inverters, grid-tied electronics, controllers, motion and tracking devices, and wireless control electronics. In addition, technical direction and testing on standards for emerging technologies such as concentrating PV, concentrating solar power, and building-integrated PV are provided.

The new facility is an ISO 17025 accredited testing lab and provides PV design qualification and type certification service per IEC 61215, IEC 61646, and IEEE 1262 standards; and PV safety testing services per UL 1703 and IEC 61730 standards.

Arizona’s largest electric provider, Arizona Public Service (APS), has provided five acres of outdoor testing space at its Solar Test and Research (STAR) Center for use in conducting outdoor endurance testing.

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) also worked closely with TUV Rheinland and ASU in helping strengthen the university’s research infrastructure, leading to the commercialization of products and services that foster new industry growth. SFAz will establish an office in space provided by TUV to ensure its organization can most effectively facilitate industry and university R&D.

“Our facility in Tempe serves as a cornerstone of TUV Rheinland Group’s strategy for a global network of photovoltaic testing and certification services,” said Stephan Schmitt, president/CEO of TUV Rheinland North America Holding.

“The expertise and knowledge of TUV Rheinland PTL’s team combined with the brainpower of ASU’s faculty and their outstanding research reputation in the field of renewable energies represents a unique opportunity for the solar industry to obtain true and highly sophisticated information and services.”

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