SOLAR

Certification of rebranded modules fills a gap in the PV value chain

PV module manufacturers are often faced with excess inventory due to oversupply or product changes. To recoup some of their costs or to deplete stock, module manufacturers may sell discontinued UL-Listed panels to distributors, who then re-label the products with their own company name. Previously, however, the UL safety certification had not been transferable, making it difficult to sell these products, and adversely affecting the secondary market. To address this, UL introduces its PV Distributor Certification Program, covering two common industry scenarios: re-labeling and altered modules.

The re-labeling scenario applies when the previously UL-Listed module has not been altered by the distributor or secondary buyer. Sampled products are subject to an engineering review and a limited, short-duration testing program. This leads to certification and re-labeling with the distributor’s name in association with the UL Mark.

When the previously UL-Listed PV module has been constructionally altered, the basic process is similar. However, additional testing based on UL 1703 will be conducted to address the product modifications.

Manufacturers can benefit from the program by depleting their stock, and distributors can benefit through expanded availability of UL certified products in the secondary market and from the verification that the purchased products have not been damaged in the rebranding process, all ensuring better market access and a safer use environment for the industry.

Chris Paxton, Engineering Leader PV, UL Energy & Industrial Systems

For further information on UL’s PV Module Distributor Certification Program, please contact your local sales representative or Chris Paxton


SOLAR

UL co-develops new investment model through truSolar®

Despite a growing market in solar energy, financial institutions frequently struggle to understand the risks involved in lending to new projects. This – and the fact that roughly half of new projects fail – means that access to affordable capital has not kept up with demand, creating a major obstacle to the commercial flourishing of solar energy.

To address this issue, the truSolar Working Group was launched in January 2013 to accelerate investment deal flow and create confidence among investors in the commercial/industrial solar market. Led by Distributed Sun and DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, truSolar consists of 13 leaders from the solar value chain – including UL.

The goal of the group is simple: to establish uniform, widely accessible practices that provide a comprehensive assessment of risks at all stages of a PV project’s life cycle. Using sophisticated rating tools to score project performance, site profile and counterparty risk criteria, truSolar will improve transaction efficiency and enhance the availability of lower cost capital essential to industry growth. Currently in its beta phase, truSolar’s testing, scoring and credit screening model is expected to be operational and released to a standards body for public use later in 2014.

UL supports the truSolar initiative with safety and performance testing and certification of PV modules, inverters, and balance of system components, as well as additional customized testing. Perhaps even more importantly, UL’s involvement marks its continued collaboration with the industry to promote the more widespread adoption and installation of solar energy in general.

Scott Jezwinski, Business Development Manager, UL Energy & Industrial Systems

For further information on the truSolar initiative or UL’s solar energy services, please contact Scott Jezwinski or visit truSolarScore.com


SOLAR

Validating the effect of polymer degradation on PV performance and reliability

Recently, due to rapid growth in the PV industry, many new backsheet materials have been introduced. Enhanced reliability and reduced costs are the driving forces for these new materials. A major concern, however, is that the performance and reliability of the PV module as a whole could be directly linked to the degradation of the polymer material properties.

Long Term Thermal Aging (LTTA) covered under UL Safety Standard 746B evaluates the heat resistance of plastics at elevated temperatures. Since the investigation of a polymer to environmental thermal conditions could take months to complete, UL has introduced a new Specialized LTTA Method for Polymer Variation Program which accelerates the validation of high-temperature ratings for ingredient variations of polymer materials.

One way UL is optimizing the LTTA process is through a better understanding of the compound’s chemistry, and its effect on heat resistance. UL can thereby review short-term analytical test results, and conduct a validation of high temperature performance in a reduced timeframe.

The analysis of the chemistry, the analytical data, and the high temperature property degradation can then be used to validate the statistical significance that ingredient modifications might have on a compound formulation with an already established high temperature rating. In most cases a full-fledged LTTA test can thereby be avoided, saving time, money and shortening the product development timeline.

Crystal Vanderpan, Principal Engineer PV Materials, UL Chemicals

For further information on how UL validates high-temperature ratings of polymer materials for use in PV modules and systems, please contact Crystal Vanderpan


WIND

Flexible expertise for the global wind industry

UL and its companies DEWI and DEWI-OCC (DEWI-Group) are continuing to expand their global service portfolio to provide wind industry manufacturers and other stakeholders with flexible and comprehensive expertise precisely targeted to their needs, when they need it. Two services which the DEWI-Group is now offering are LiDAR and LVRT.

LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is an optical remote sensing technique that measures both vertical and horizontal wind speed and direction based on laser signals backscattered by particles in the atmosphere. The LiDAR service encompasses site analysis and surveys from a wind resource perspective, wind turbine power curve measurements, research related initiatives and analyzing the acquired data.

LVRT (Low Voltage Ride Through) testing is increasingly being required to verify grid stability support during voltage dips. Tests are typically conducted on prototypes and referenced to IEC standards and other national grid codes. The scope of measurements is expected to rise, also as a result of the up-coming third revision of IEC61400-21.

These new services join the DEWI-Group’s already impressive range of professional on- and offshore services, which include Design Evaluation, Type Testing and Certification, Wind Measurements, Energy Yield Assessment, Technical Due Diligence, Power Curve Verification, Site Classification and many others.

Heike Thomas, Business Development Manager, UL Energy & Industrial Systems

For further information on UL’s services for the wind sector through the DEWI-Group please contact Heike Thomas


WIND

Chinese insurer collaborates with UL on improving wind power risk assessment

At the moment, there is no systematic and uniform means of wind risk evaluation in China, which is posing a challenge to the wind power industry, its investors and insurers. Since accidents are known to have occurred in almost every phase of a wind project’s life cycle, resulting in equipment damage or even casualties, the need has arisen to thoroughly assess the risks involved, in order to minimize the occurrence of accidents as well as to better insure against them.

This issue is particularly acute in China, where mass wind turbine parks are gradually reaching the end of their warranty term, increasing year by year the danger of damage to major components such as gearboxes, generators, blades, as well as whole turbines. While some wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm owners have purchased insurance covering potential machinery damage, the lack of reliable statistics may lead insurance companies to offset the risks by increasing premiums.

In order to develop effective and harmonized tools for wind industry risk assessment, one of China’s largest insurance companies, PICC, is cooperating with UL and the UL subsidiary DEWI GmbH on research to set up a standards framework for wind power risk assessment.

The research is to identify the degree of risk involved in all aspects of a wind power project, taking into consideration policy, finance, natural disasters, technical design, manufacturing quality, engineering, construction, operation, maintenance, and personal safety etc. This collaboration marks a first of its kind in China and will combine the advanced technologies and international experience of UL and UL-DEWI with PICC’s competences in insurance-related risk analysis and assessment.

James Zhang, Primary Designated Engineer – Wind, Power Electronics and Controls, UL Energy & Industrial Systems

For further information on the wind power industry in China, please contact James Zhang


LARGE BATTERIES

Tap into UL’s global expertise on large battery safety and compliance

Due to popular demand, UL will reprise its webinars on advanced battery technology safety and compliance in February and March 2014. These live webinars, presented in English, Chinese and Japanese, will broadcast at times that accommodate Asian and European audiences.

Top battery experts at UL will provide timely clarity and insight into the safety standards landscape, as well as the latest research in lithium-ion cell safety. The 1-hour webinars are targeted to battery/cell manufacturers, buyers of batteries/cells, as well as other industry stakeholders and are designed to provide participants with actionable insights and business advantages. Registration is required.

Demystifying Stationary Battery Standards
UL, IEEE, NEMA, IEC, JIS – in order to ensure market compliance, manufacturers must take standard criteria into consideration in the early design phase. But which standards are applicable? By using illustrations and guides, this webinar helps make sense of the complex standards environment for batteries.

Click the date below to register:
February 26 (9am ET / 2pm GMT) – in English
March 19 (10am CST) – in Chinese
March 19 (9am JST) – in Japanese

The Effect of Aging on Battery Safety
As the possibilities of “second life” applications for lithium-ion batteries have gained momentum, so too have questions about battery safety during extended use. Research and key findings are presented important for all makers of lithium-ion cells, as well as potential users of second-life batteries.

Click the date below to register:
March 12 (9am ET / 2pm GMT) – in English
March 12 (10am CST) – in Chinese

Getting ahead of IEC 62133
Changes to the required testing and test conditions for lithium-ion batteries (including a forced internal short circuit test) were introduced in the 2nd edition of the international standard for secondary cells and batteries. This webinar will address these and other changes, as well as what revisions to expect in the 3rd edition, due for publication in 2014.

Click the date below to register:
March 26 (9am ET / 2 pm GMT) – in English
March 26 (10am CST) – in Chinese
March 26 (9am JST) – in Japanese

Daniel Cox, Business Development Manager North America, UL Energy & Industrial Systems

For further information on these offers, please contact Daniel Cox


UL Enhanced Mark

UL has begun introducing an enhanced version of its iconic UL Certification Mark, as well as a UL Certification Badge, to help manufacturers, regulators and retailers move more quickly and effectively in today’s 24/7 global marketplace. The enhanced UL Certification Mark enables companies to bundle multiple certifications for multiple geographies into a single mark. The Mark also includes a unique identifier providing access to more information about a product's Certification. Learn more about the UL Enhanced Mark at the Marks Hub.


UL Education Solutions

In a world of emerging risks, knowledge is a competitive advantage that delivers tangible results: protecting lives and driving business success. UL Education Solutions provide the world’s most progressive and safety-conscious companies with the expertise and tools they need to thrive. Energy industry professionals are encouraged to visit UL Education Solutions at http://info.ulknowledgeservices.com/energy.html for in-depth information on training, personnel/professional certifications, or to request a quote for an advisory service. For further assistance, please contact Tony Robertson.


EVENTS

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