A new era for solar PV

Technology cost reductions contribute to global growth of photovoltaic power applications

By Antoinette Price

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Renewables 2017 Report highlights that new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity grew globally by 50% in 2016, reaching over 74 GW. It also notes the significant point that for the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.

Tensile solar testing Tensile tests strength of components, adhesives and connections of solar modules (Photo: TÜV Rheinland)

The IEA expects the renewable electricity forecast to expand by over 920 GW or 43% during the next five years, with solar PV representing the largest contribution.

Harnessing sun energy everywhere

Powering traffic lights and electronic road infrastructure, electric vehicle charging stations, residential, commercial and industrial sectors, solar PV use is expanding around the world as a leading renewable energy source.

Building trust while improving safety and quality

Manufacturers must be able to show that their products comply with required safety and performance regulations. Since PV systems need substantial investment, manufacturers must also demonstrate that their products will perform for long periods, as promised, and be able to cope with the harsh conditions in which PV systems operate.

In order to achieve this, manufacturers in turn, must ensure the safety, resistance and performance of the components that comprise their PV products and systems.

The need for international certification

IECEE is the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. The different schemes test the safety, quality, efficiency and overall performance of electrical and electronic components, devices and equipment for homes, offices, workshops and health facilities, to ensure they comply with IEC International Standards. IECEE covers 23 categories of electrical equipment and testing services, including PV.

The great benefits of testing

IECEE Members use the principal of mutual recognition or reciprocal acceptance of test results to obtain certification or approval at national levels around the world, since IECEE certification offers proof of compliance to IEC International Standards. IECEE PV certification:

  • Saves costs and time, with fewer steps needed for international certification
  • Eliminates duplicate testing
  • Removes obstacles to international trade, such as different national certification or approval criteria 
  • Allows faster product movement from plants to markets
  • Opens up access to more markets
  • Enables direct acceptance by regulators, retailers, buyers and vendors in many countries

Find out more about IECEE.

Gallery
Tensile solar testing Tensile tests strength of components, adhesives and connections of solar modules (Photo: TÜV Rheinland)
Testing electrical safety for solar PV Electrical safety of photovoltaic modules is tested in a water bath (Photo: TÜV Rheinland)
Solar PV load testing PV load testing simulates heavy snow which can accumulate on a sloping roof (Photo: TÜV Rheinland)