Polymeric frames for photovoltaic modules testing and certification programs
Photovoltaic (PV) modules, commonly known as solar panels, convert sunlight into electrical energy. Frames are an important feature of PV models. They fix, seal and hold together the PV module’s components, protect the module against the elements, enhance its durability, and facilitate its transportation and installation. The frame’s performance also affects the mounting and service life of PV modules.
While aluminum is currently the dominant material for PV module frames, rising environmental sustainability concerns amidst rapidly growing demand for solar energy resources prompt companies to develop frames using other cost-competitive materials that do not require such high levels of energy consumption and carbon emissions. The composite polymeric frame offers PV module manufacturers an alternative to aluminum alloy.
The composite polymeric material has the potential to provide comparable strength and durability to aluminum alloy while decreasing PV modules’ weight, easing transportation and installation, and reducing cost and carbon dioxide emissions. Using nonmetal frames can reduce occurrences of leakage currents and potential-induced degradation (PID). Furthermore, the polymeric material’s salt mist and chemical corrosion resistance can enable the PV module to have a longer service life, particularly in high-moisture environments.
The importance of testing and certifying polymeric frames
To build confidence in this innovative application of polymer composites, it is important to evaluate polymeric frames on several properties and demonstrate that polymer composites offer comparable performance to aluminum alloys. These properties include:
- Strength, durability and dimensional stability
- Insulating and frame-retardant properties
- Traceability across the entire supply chain
UL Solutions PV module polymeric frame testing and certification services
Our globally recognized Plastics Recognition Program can help you demonstrate compliance with safety, quality, suitability and traceability requirements of your materials based on a specific set of third-party performance credentials. UL Solutions Yellow Card™ is a marketing tool you can leverage to differentiate your products and help downstream manufacturers save valuable time when testing end products.
Our Fingerprint ID program can help you maintain the traceability of these materials and support the ongoing integrity of your supply chain. UL Solutions Follow-Up Services can evaluate whether your polymeric formulations are consistent with the original requirements they were certified under. These programs help boost confidence that the materials will meet sourcing requirements.
Why choose UL Solutions for polymeric frame testing and certification
UL Solutions leverages reliable assessments and test data to help boost confidence in polymeric materials used in PV module frames. As a leading global provider of testing and certification services for innovative plastics materials, we proudly serve many of the world’s top plastics manufacturers. We work closely with plastics industry stakeholders to maintain and enhance existing UL Standards, establish new standards, and develop certification and testing programs that address emerging technologies and product applications, such as using polymeric formulations in PV module frames.
Contact our plastics experts to learn more about our services or to discuss your specific needs.
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