PV materials testing and certification
Increasing the supply of renewable energy offers numerous benefits to the planet, people and businesses — from decreasing our reliance on carbon-emitting energy sources that pollute our air and water to optimizing the operating costs of modern buildings. One of the primary sources of renewable energy is sunlight, and photovoltaic (PV) materials are used to convert sunlight into electricity. To be accepted into the market, PV materials must meet the performance and safety standards established in regulatory requirements. For manufacturers of PV materials, demonstrating compliance with these standards is a necessary step in bringing safer products to global target markets.
UL Solutions — a global safety science leader and testing, inspection and certification service provider — can help PV material manufacturers navigate requirements and demonstrate compliance. With our PV materials testing and certification programs, we assess components used in PV modules. We offer testing and certification services for a wide variety of materials and components, including:
- Polymeric frontsheets and backsheets
- Adhesives and sealing materials
- Potting compounds
- Polymeric frames
Our experts test these materials and components in accordance with established methods. These tests define material properties and facilitate the investigation of their use in PV product applications.
We can test characteristics such as:
- Material flammability (burning characteristics)
- Ignition characteristics from various thermal and electrical sources
- Electrical tracking and other electrical characteristics
- Effects of long-term exposure to elevated temperature, water, cold weather and ultraviolet light
- Physical and mechanical characteristics
PV frontsheet and backsheet testing
PV frontsheets and backsheets provide electrical insulation and protect the inner components of a PV module from extreme environmental stress factors encountered during the intended lifetime performance of the module. In higher-voltage applications, the chance for premature frontsheet and backsheet failure increases. To address these concerns, the IEC expanded its testing requirements to include mechanical, electrical and visual tests after environmental stress exposures. We offer frontsheet and backsheet testing according to the updated IEC requirements.
Polymeric frames for photovoltaic modules testing and certification programs
To demonstrate that polymer composite PV modules frames offer comparable performance to aluminum alloy frames, we evaluate polymeric frames on several properties, including:
- Strength and durability
- Dimensional stability
- Resistance to temperature changes, chemical decomposition and color fading caused by long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays and other external environment conditions
- Insulating properties
- Flame-retardance properties
UL Solutions Plastics Recognition Program
Our globally recognized plastics recognition program (UL Solutions Yellow Card™) can help you demonstrate the safety, quality and sustainability of your materials based on a set of objective third-party performance criteria. The UL Solutions Yellow Card lists safety- and performance-related properties for a polymeric material that we test to appropriate standards. It can also include additional performance credentials for industry requirements.
UL Solutions PV materials traceability program
Maintaining the traceability of PV materials and components helps support the supply chain’s integrity and boost confidence that materials meet stringent sourcing requirements. UL Solutions fingerprints your formulation using infrared (IR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetry (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). We conduct regular inspections of products and facilities and select polymeric materials for comparison to the IR, TGA and DSC reference graphs on file.
Why choose UL Solutions for PV materials testing and certification
UL Solutions offers deep expertise in the testing, certification and inspection of products and materials for the PV and plastics industries. Our reliable assessments and test data for polymeric materials used in PV components provide suppliers and their customers with greater confidence that their products comply with all necessary requirements.