New PV module testing guidelines published by CSA Group

sunpower modules (2)

Photo of Sunpower’s new testing facility

North American testing, certification and standards development organization CSA Group sent word about the development of C450 – currently available as an Express Document (EXP450) – new guidelines that help to address the lack of uniform testing requirements in the Photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing industry.

To best ensure the level of quality required for PV modules to last to an upward of 20 years, manufacturers have often had to rely on their own set of protocols. This lack of a uniform set of requirements in the industry often creates ambiguity and can lead to decreased functionality, greater costs for manufacturers and a lack of consumer confidence.

CSA Group addressed these significant issues by facilitating the development of C450 – Photovoltaic (PV) Module Testing Protocol for Quality Assurance Programs which consolidates all of the protocols into one comprehensive guide. CSA Group is actively working on gaining an ANSI standard (C450) for the testing protocol, to demonstrate further consensus into the need and importance of such a program.

Replacing multiple protocols with one test brings significant benefits to manufacturers including: reduced costs; ease in comparing data; and potential reduction in test backlogs. In addition, the document is designed to be flexible and can be quickly updated as new test methods are developed and validated, so any advances in PV testing technology can quickly be incorporated.

C450 was developed using a bi-national committee of stakeholder experts – representing manufacturers, testing bodies, research firms and financiers from both the United States and Canada. It establishes testing requirements based on industry best practices, helps identify potential problems with new manufacturing equipment and facilities and provides data for ongoing quality monitoring programs after validation testing.

CSA Group’s testing capabilities are designed to provide full scope testing of PV modules to latest testing protocols. Testing programs based on C450 are offered through in its state-of-the-art solar labs in Albuquerque, NM and Kunshan, China.

 

 
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