Overcoming barriers to maximize offshore efficiency

More than 7,000 MW of offshore wind energy capacity already exists in Europe’s Baltic and North Seas alone, and the global wind energy market is expected to triple in size over the next 5 years – not only in Europe, but also in Asia, and the first installations in U.S. waters are planned for 2015.

The development is not surprising as offshore wind energy reduces or eliminates concerns related to noise or visual pollution as well as offering a 40% higher yield than onshore wind.

Growth is challenged, however, by the current high cost of installation per MW. The largest offshore wind turbines currently generate 8 MW, but analysts predict this will rise to 10 MW within the next three years.

To best meet this challenge, large new wind turbines require a deployment that maximizes efficiency and minimizes the number of offshore foundations to be installed. One way of doing that is to optimize the design and manufacture of these structures using modular type series production processes. Another way is to bring down installation costs by lifting the whole offshore wind turbine, including the rotor-nacelle assembly and tower, in one operation.

LIDAR measurement technology is another approach that has proven to be effective at reducing installation costs. LIDAR measurement equipment is portable, and can be used repeatedly at various offshore wind farm locations, thus eliminating the expense of an offshore met mast. UL has deployed LIDAR technology and equipment for on-site measurements at such venues as Alpha Ventus in Germany and a major offshore wind farm in England.

Jan Behrendt Ibsoe, Global Director, UL Energy & Power Technologies

For further information on optimizing offshore performance and lowering costs, please go to, or contact Jan Behrendt Ibsoe


PV bankability – building trust into the global PV value chain

Electricity generated from solar PV is an attractive investment. Large scale systems can be built wherever the sun shines, quickly deployed compared to conventional generation sources, and the fuel is free.

There are, however, challenges. Globally, about 75% of all installed PV came online in the past five years and is expected to more than double over the next 3 years. Without decades of historical data to confidently validate current operations, PV system stakeholders need to find alternate ways to assess risk in order to make informed decisions about future developments.

Bankability is a term often used in the solar industry to describe the degree of financial risk associated with a project, which also factors into the financing process.

UL’s bankability service aligns with stakeholder needs and focuses on elements that affect the lifetime performance and electrical safety of PV systems. The basis for the service is full evaluation and testing as identified in published performance standards, for example IEC/UL 61215 or IEC/UL 61646 for PV modules.

Further tests are performed to expose defects that are known to impact long term reliability. The manufacturer’s production processes and supply chain are also examined specifically for consistency in quality. The company size, history, reputation, financial foundation, and product portfolio are also reviewed. The resulting bankability report is designed to help build stakeholder confidence toward making the right decisions.

Scott Jezwinski, Business Development Manager, UL Energy & Power Technologies

For further information on UL’s bankability or other solar energy services, please contact Scott Jezwinski.


Harmonization of inverter standards simplifies certification and reduces costs

The PV inverter landscape is changing rapidly, as advanced inverter functions help stabilize the electric utility grid. To fully realize the benefits these changes offer – and better meet the needs of manufacturers, utilities, inspectors and end users – industry and standards organizations are working to update certification options for inverter safety and grid interconnection, as well as harmonize requirements internationally.

To support advancement of grid safety and performance, UL recently published ANSI/UL 62109-1, Standard for Safety of power converters for use in PV power systems. This standard is based on the criteria of IEC 62109, the foundation for globally transportable PV inverter safety certifications, and provides a path to broader global market acceptance.

UL is also now accredited in the IECEE CB Scheme to test and issue CB Reports for inverter products under the scope of IEC 62109-1 and 62109-2. With a CB Report from UL, an inverter can be certified for multiple global markets with reduced testing and effort.

Additionally, the Standard for Safety of Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment for Use With Distributed Energy Resources, UL 1741, is being revised in line with changes in the IEEE 1547 series and the new California Rule 21. These efforts include a certification path for special grid interconnection functions. For now, manufacturers may use either UL 1741 or UL 62109-1 for PV inverter safety certifications, depending upon their designs and needs. UL 1741 continues to be the standard for non-PV power conversion equipment such as microturbines, generators, wind turbines and fuel cells.

With these developments, manufacturers now have multiple certification options for safety and grid interconnection. Consolidated design and test requirements also enable easier global market access, reduced time to market, wider acceptance, and lower costs.

Tim Zgonena, Principal Engineer Distributed Energy Resources Equipment and Systems, UL Energy & Power Technologies

For further information on new inverter safety and grid interconnection standards and certification options, please visit, or contact Tim Zgonena.


UL 9540 supports fast-emerging demand for energy storage systems

With the emergence of renewable distributive energy such as PV and wind, energy storage systems (ESS) have become a necessary part of the overall energy supply. ESS improve the quality and performance of renewable power, as well as providing a dependable means to support utility grids at peak hours – without costly enhancements to power generation facilities.

Due to growing use of new technologies for high energy and power applications, where there is not a great deal of field experience to rely upon, it is vital that ESS stakeholders stay current on managing the risks involved. These may include dangerous levels of voltage and energy, as well as hazardous materials and other risks associated with some new technologies.

UL Subject 9540 is the comprehensive new UL safety standard for energy storage systems. It covers electrical, electro-chemical, mechanical and other types of storage technologies, for systems interacting with a utility grid, as a standalone supply, or in multiple operational modes, etc.

UL Subject 9540 references critical technology safety standards & codes and includes tests that may not be covered by current standards, to more fully address ES system safety.

Stakeholders – utilities, manufacturers, installers, users, insurers, regulators – who are concerned about ESS safety should take note of this new standard. Compliance with UL 9540 helps to ensure that ESS meet the level of safety rigor required to ensure they operate as intended.

Laurie B. Florence, Principal Engineer for Large Format Batteries, Fuel Cells and Capacitors, UL Energy Power & Controls

Participate in a webinar on UL 9540 on 1 October 2014. Find details here.

For further information on energy storage system safety and performance – or on certification by listing or field evaluation – please contact Laurie B. Florence.


UL 60950 now requires UL 1973 to evaluate energy storage systems/modules for information technology equipment

For an increasing number of industrial computers, telecom base stations and data centers, many of the early lead-acid battery based products are now being replaced by lithium batteries, as they save space, have higher energy density and are easier to maintain. As larger batteries are used increasingly in emergency backup and energy storage systems, safety issues of lithium battery storage have become concerns across the IT industry.

To support safe deployment of these types of large format battery technologies, UL published Standard for Safety of Batteries in Stationary Applications, UL 1973, in 2013. This standard has now also been adopted by the American National Standards Institute and is expected to become the common standard used in North America by the end of 2014. UL 1973 addresses critical safety assessments of various battery chemistries for a wide range of stationary applications.

Recognizing the benefits that safety evaluations to the requirements of UL 1973 support, the information technology industry has taken action. In July 2014, the Standards Technical Panel for UL 60950-1, Standard for Safety of Information Technology Equipment has voted to require that UL 1973 be used to evaluate stationary battery storage modules within information technology equipment. Use of UL 1973 by the information technology and other industries continues to support safe energy storage infrastructure.

Kenneth Lin, UL Global Commercial Lead, Large Format Batteries

For information on how UL can improve global access and speed time-to-market for large battery products, please contact Kenneth Lin.


Helping installed equipment comply with local codes – an on site service from UL Field Evaluations

Manufacturers are often faced with the problem of “special” orders not quite fitting the listing file. Sometimes the listed products may even need to be modified after installation. The challenge is to accommodate specific demands, while still providing excellent service, value and a UL label.

For over 25 years, UL has been successfully offering clients a service called “Field Evaluations” to address just these needs. Field Evaluations apply to unique, modified or limited number products already installed or soon to be installed, such as power distribution equipment, alternate energy equipment, heating and cooling equipment, display cabinets and food service equipment. The evaluations cover requirements that are equipment and site-specific and result in a stand alone, one-time report.

UL Field Evaluations serve companies by bridging the gap between uncertified equipment and an installation compliant to local codes, while also assisting jurisdictions to enforce their adopted regulations.

UL’s qualified engineering experts respond quickly to inquiries for service, with the understanding that keeping to a tight schedule equals cutting costs. There are UL Field Evaluation staff located all around the world so, no matter where the site, they are tuned in to local business conditions, while drawing on a proven global expertise in product safety and performance.

Chuck Mello, Global Field Evaluation Program Manager, UL Energy

For more information on field evaluations please refer to, or contact Chuck Mello or Nancy Douglas.

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 Knowledge Solutions

In a world of emerging risks, knowledge is a competitive advantage that delivers tangible results: protecting lives and driving business success. UL Knowledge 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 us at 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.


Take part in the following live webinars offered by UL Knowledge Services

1 OCTOBER 2014 AT 1:00 P.M. CST (7:00 P.M. GMT)
UL9540 for the Safety of Energy Storage Systems
Join Ken Boyce and other UL experts to learn about UL9540, the new standard for the safety of energy storage systems, as well as which products and energy storage systems technologies fall under its scope and the corresponding requirements. Register here.

15 OCTOBER 2014 AT 9:30 A.M. CST (3:30 P.M. GMT)
Avoiding Pitfalls in Your Conflict Minerals Program
Join UL Information & Insights for a discussion on the challenges companies face in implementing conflict mineral programs, potential gaps in current approaches, and proposed solutions to mitigate risk and complexity. Register here.

15 OCTOBER 2014 AT 1:00 P.M. CST (7:00 P.M. GMT)
Understanding & Managing Lithium Ion Battery Safety Risks
Join UL experts for information on what steps can be taken towards better understanding, evaluating and controlling the risks associated with lithium ion batteries to users, handlers, shippers and insurers of batteries. Register here.