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  • Press Release

UL completes facility expansion, creates largest independently owned solar testing lab in North America

July 13, 2009

NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 13, 2009 -- Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a world leader in safety testing and certification, today announced the completion of its photovoltaic testing facility expansion in San Jose, Calif. The expansion has increased testing capacity by over 40 percent, making it the largest and most comprehensive solar testing laboratory of its kind in North America.

UL has invested heavily in solar and other alternative energies such as wind, as well as new energy efficiency and storage technologies such as LED and large batteries for electric vehicles in order to meet the growing global demand for testing services of these new technologies. Investments include opening new facilities, standards development, certification schemes and groundbreaking research.

In addition to the U.S. expansion, UL opened a testing facility in Suzhou, China in early 2009 and has plans to open new facilities in Germany and Japan in 2010. Also, recently UL achieved CB Testing Laboratory (CBTL) accreditation at its San Jose facility. The accreditation enables UL to provide international certifications through harmonization of technical requirements from over 50 countries across five continents and help manufacturers achieve global market access faster and more easily.  For the last several years UL remains a leading participant of IECEE CB Scheme, whose main objective is to facilitate trade by promoting harmonization of the national standards with international standards.

"With the global solar market expected to generate 10 percent of the world's total electricity by 2035, we believe, more than ever, safety has to be a priority in its evolution," said Jeff Smidt General Manager of UL's Global Energy Business. "Our San Jose facility expansion and CBTL accreditation are just two examples of our ongoing commitment to the proliferation of safe, reliable renewable energy solutions globally."

The new expansion to the Photovoltaic Technology Center of Excellence in San Jose, Calif. brings the total laboratory space to 32,000-square-feet (2,973-square-meters). The facility now also houses five extra chambers that assess a variety of PV innovations including crystalline and thin-film technologies, including BIPV and concentrated PV.  UL also tests Recognized Components such as PV connectors and junction boxes. New employees will also be hired to meet testing demands.