Solar

Record year 2010 just the beginning for U.S. solar sector

As equipment prices fall and states demand more renewable energy, U.S. utilities are expected to double investment in solar power generation each year through 2015. Solar module prices in 2010 were 50% lower than in 2008, making utility-size plants economically viable for the first time. Installations of these kind are projected to reach 3,000-5,000 MW annually within five years, with California accounting for more than half of all new capacity.

Nationwide growth is being propelled across residential, commercial and utility-scale market segments by the continued decline of average system costs, which for the first time fell below $6/watt in Q3 of 2010. The PV industry can also expect a significant boost from the Department of Energy‘s recently announced „SunShot“ initiative. By 2020, SunShot aims to bring down the total costs of PV solar energy systems by about 75 percent, to as low as $1/watt, making PV systems cost competitive on a large scale with other forms of energy.

Analyst Shayle Kahn of Boston-based Greentech Media writes, “It is difficult not to be bullish about the U.S. utility PV market. The market potential is enormous, the economics have never made more sense, and the first large projects have been coming on line with increasing frequency.”
Evelyn M. Butler, Director, Business Strategy, UL Energy

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Solar

IEC 61730-harmonized UL standard in the pipeline

As worldwide demand for solar panels grows, the industry increasingly requires up-to-date international safety standards. In response, UL Standard 1703 is currently being updated and harmonized with IEC 61730 (PV Module Safety Qualification Part 2: Requirements for Testing).

UL 1703 defines safety requirements for all crystalline, terrestrial or thin-film flat-plate photovoltaic modules and panels – freestanding and integrated. UL 1703 has already been adopted by the California Energy Commission – one of the most progressive and demanding energy markets in the world.

In late 2010, UL convened the Standards Technical Panel (STP) 1703 to review PV equipment safety requirements, including UL’s new draft of the harmonized standard. The STP is comprised of stakeholders from the producer, supply chain, government, regulatory and other sectors. Task Groups of STP members were formed at the meeting to address important PV safety issues. This included a Task Group to review and finalize the national differences in the internationally-harmonized standard, as well as Task Groups to review fire classification, material deformation, grounding, and performance requirements.

While several issues remain to be clarified and addressed, an IEC-harmonized standard will be proposed in the near future. Once the fully harmonized standard is published, manufacturers will be able to target product development to meet multiple market requirements simultaneously.
Kenneth P. Boyce, PDE Manager, UL Energy

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Solar

Largest PV testing facility in India opens

With the opening of the largest PV Testing & Certification facility in India, UL recognizes India as a leading player in the global future of solar energy. Indian PV equipment manufacturers will now be able to receive national and international certification in India itself, thus saving them money, time and also providing them access to a state-of-the-art testing facility.

UL Energy General Manager Jeff Smidt explains, “UL is installing a large-scale network of PV test facilities in the key PV markets globally. India, as one of the most important emerging PV markets, must be part of that essential network.” Specific to India are the aggressive government goals for the deployment of solar power – defined in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission – which have created the strong need for a full-fledged testing and certification facility, serving local PV manufacturers aiming for global standards and world markets.

The state-of-the-art Bangalore lab is fully equipped with environmental chambers, sun simulators and other instrumentation capable of testing and certifying up to 48 families of PV modules a year. In addition, the facility supports non-certification testing in areas such as product development, quality control and performance assessment for PV power plants.

In India, as elsewhere, the focus is on maximum safety, performance and market access. By partnering with key governmental agencies and PV interest groups, UL India is also working outside the lab to help provide viable solutions to industry problems.
Divya Narayan, Marketing Communications Manager, UL IMEA

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Oil & Gas

Some equipment may need to be upgraded for E15 use

In January 2011, the EPA authorized E15 (gasoline blended with nominally 15% ethanol) for model year 2001 and newer vehicles in the U.S. Until recently, E10 (nominally 10% ethanol, also known as “gasohol”) was the maximum approved blend for standard vehicles.

Since recent research has shown that ethanol can degrade some elastomeric materials, reaction of fuel dispensers at the approx. 162,000+ fuel stations in the U.S. to exposure to higher ethanol content is unclear. To assess how legacy equipment may perform, UL carried out research testing for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). While the overall results were not conclusive, some equipment demonstrated limited ability to safely accommodate exposure to fuels with higher ethanol content, such as E15.

UL notes the degradation of gaskets, seals, and hoses can occur when these elastomers are exposed to greater than E10 ethanol blends. Breakdown of these components can cause leaks. Therefore, in situations where E15 is to be dispensed, UL recommends the use of new, listed equipment designed and identified for use with mid-level blends. There are currently dispensing units on the market listed for use with blends up to E25 under UL Standard UL 87A-E25.
Kenneth P. Boyce, PDE Manager, UL Energy

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Wind

Unique safety issues for wind turbine components

UL has been facing unique challenges in the certification of components for wind turbines. While existing standards cover many components, new safety considerations have emerged for which very few UL Listed or UL Recognized products are available on the market. Examples of these safety issues are vibration, 50C ambient, environmental considerations between wet and damp locations, and components rated over 600V.

UL is working on multiple initiatives to mitigate these issues. Together with AWEA and the Standards Technical Panel, revisions are being made to the proposed wind standards ANSI / UL 6141 (Large Wind Turbines) and ANSI / UL 6142 (Small Wind Turbines). At the same time, in collaboration with wind turbine and supply chain manufacturers, UL is exploring new means to certify components for use in wind turbine applications.

As every case is unique, all wind turbine component manufacturers are encouraged to begin or continue working closely with UL toward successful UL certification.
Thomas M. Walker, Business Development Manager, Global Energy Industry, UL Energy

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Jeff Smidt on CNBC’s Tech Check

Jeff Smidt talks with Jon Fortt about rooftop fire prevention and impresses him with UL’s solar panel stress-tests. Watch now here

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UL‘s Tim Zgonena nominated for Test Engineer of the Year!

Test & Measurement World Magazine has shortlisted UL engineer Tim Zgonena for his long-standing commitment to advancing technical standards and harmonization development, as well as to promoting the safe use of renewable energy technologies. The winning engineer, to be selected by Test & Measurement World readers, will be honored at a special ceremony at the IPC APEX Expo in April. In addition, the winner and his team will be featured in the cover story of the publication’s April issue.

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EVENTS

Visit UL at the following events


14-17 March 2011 | Brussels, Belgium
EWEA (European Wind Energy Association) Annual Event 2011


29-30 March 2011 | Santa Clara CA, USA
SolarTech Solar Leadership Summit


3-5 April 2011 | Philadelphia, USA
PV Amercia


4-8 April | Hanover, Germany
Hannover Messe 2011


7-8 April | Arlington VA, USA
Low Voltage Direct Current Workshop


12-14 April 2011 | Barcelona, Spain
3rd EV Battery Forum


12-14 April | Cologne, Germany
Polymers in Photovoltaics 2011


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UL University

UL's Knowledge Solutions

UL University offers customized private and public training and seminars. We provide participants with valuable information already useful in the design phase of the product life cycle and imperative for fast and easy worldwide market access.

More Sminars at: www.uluniversity.com

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UL Verification

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is not only a global leader in product safety testing and certification but UL‘s involvement in commercial testing, inspection, and audit work is recognized and respected around the world as well.

Today, it is a constant challenge to find cost effective ways to test and inspect products without compromising quality. UL‘s Research & Development (R&D) Testing, Verification Testing, Inspection & Audit Services and our Retailer Services support manufacturing business operations from initial design through prototyping and into final production and enhance retail supply chain quality management operations.

Read More at: UL Verification services

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UL Environment

UL Environment is a new source for independent green claims validation, product certification, advisory services and standards development. We‘re here to help manufacturers, their business customers and consumers alike get clarity on what may or may not be a sustainable product.

Read More at: www.ulenvironment.com

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