CSA Group Publishes New Bi-national Standard for Photovoltaic Module Testing

CSA

Jan 28, 2019

The demand for cleaner, smarter energy, in the form of solar energy, is greater than ever. CSA/ANSI C450, an industry-developed guideline for extended photovoltaic (PV) module testing, helps to address the lack of uniform testing requirements in the PV module manufacturing industry. It’s also now a bi-national standard. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published the standard in November 2018.

“Developed by consensus through a standards development organization, CSA/ANSI C450 helps solve many of the challenges the industry was facing in documenting  their product’s long-term quality and reliability,” says Dana Parmenter, CSA Group’s Vice President of Industrial. “The public nature of the standard, with a technical committee consisting of key stakeholders in the PV industry, ushers in a new era of transparency and standardization for project developers, independent engineers, and investors looking to evaluate module quality and reduce potential risks.”

Under most regulatory regimes, PV module manufacturers are required to conduct safety and qualification testing according to ANSI/UL 1703 or IEC 61730 and IEC 61215, but these tests alone cannot validate products that must perform for 25 years or more in the field. As a result, most manufacturers perform extended testing above and beyond safety and qualification testing using proprietary protocols. Consolidating existing protocols into the publicly available CSA/ANSI C450 standard better serves the PV value chain.

“Most of us have been testing multiple different protocols that are not public standards,” explains Peter Seidel, Manager of Global Codes and Standards Measurement at First Solar Inc. “With C450, testing will be more transparent and more cost effective because of reduced redundancies. We also think it will help prevent delays as there will be more participants who can offer testing based on this standardized program.”

CSA/ANSI C450 addresses various accelerated stress tests performed on PV modules, including thermal cycling, damp heat, humidity freeze, UV exposure, dynamic mechanical load and PID testing. It also enables the:

    • comparative evaluation of different module manufacturers, designs, and bills of materials (BOMs)

    • diagnosis of potential problems with new module manufacturing equipment or facilities through comparison with known-good equipment and facilities

    • provision of data for ongoing quality monitoring programs after product validation

The standard is available for purchase on CSA’s online store. A free on-demand webinar is also available to those looking to understand the standard’s requirements in-depth: www.csagroup.org/article/webinar-pv-module-testing-protocol-quality-assurance-programs/

CSA Group also offers comprehensive testing programs programs for PV modules according to the latest standards, including C450, through its state-of-the-art labs in both Albuquerque, NM in the United States and Kunshan, China.

Find out more about the standard

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