UL partners with Galvin on visionary smart grid initiative

UL has teamed up with visionaries at the Galvin Electricity Initiative, founded by former Motorola chief Bob Galvin, to create a benchmark for the clean, reliable and efficient supply of electricity in a smart-grid future: the Perfect Power Seal of Approval™ (PPSoA) program.

By evaluating smart grid projects in each of several consumer-oriented rating categories, such as cost and the environment, PPSoA will hold grid projects to high standards while recognizing and encouraging progress. The PPSoA program will thereby help consumers, designers, utilities and policymakers to better measure performance, improve quality and accelerate grid innovation.

Part of UL’s contribution will be the training and certification of a corps of independent PPSoA project evaluators. UL will also encourage power projects under development to work with UL evaluators in order to incorporate PPSoA metrics right from the beginning.

Jeff Smidt, UL Vice President and General Manager for Energy and Industrial Systems, is enthusiastic about the new partnership: “We are proud to formally back the Perfect Power Seal of Approval program, which is setting a much-needed standard for consumer access to more affordable, reliable, cleaner power.”

PPSoA Academy for grid professionals:
UL University is organizing a first expert glimpse inside these developments with the Perfect Power Seal of Approval Academy on 19-20 October 2011 in Chicago. See the UL University section of this newsbrief for further details.

Jason D. Hopkins, P.E., Global Business Development Manager, UL Energy

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Proposed standards, testing methods and performance markers for long-term reliability and durability of PV systems

Along with other testing laboratories from around the world, UL participated at the International PV Module Quality Assurance Forum in San Francisco this July. As current UL and IEC tests are primarily aimed at market access acceptance, efforts are now turning towards expanding testing capacity to better predict long-term performance.

As PV modules age, degradation (such as delamination/discoloration of laminators or corrosion of metal contacts and electrodes) is raising concerns over how to both improve and better predict performance over a service life of 15 to 25 years, or even longer.

Two main aspects are the focus of industry attention: 1) “Reliability” which stands for quality consistency and assured performance over a module’s expected life span, and 2) “Durability” which refers to the change of a module’s properties over time due to different external stresses.

By improving understanding of the correlation between material characteristics, performance and modes of failure, UL is contributing to the industry’s orchestrated efforts to develop harmonized reliability and durability standards. Parallel to this, UL is optimizing test methodology to strengthen the connection between accelerated aging/weathering (test simulation) and actual effects over longer periods of time. To provide a solid foundation of data on the reliability and durability of PV modules and materials, on-going observation and scientific collection of data will continue with international partners from all sectors of the industry.

Already today, either based on existing performance protocols, customer-designated requirements or by extending current performance test parameters, UL is able to provide manufacturers, designers, developers, installers and system operators with responsive, quick turn-around reliability testing services at all our global laboratories.

Evelyn M. Butler, Director, UL Energy & Fueling Systems

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UL 6142: 1st standard specific to small wind turbines set for publication in 2011

Small wind turbines are typically utilized to produce clean, emissions-free power for individual homes, farms or small businesses. Large wind turbines, by contrast, are for industrial/utilities use and require entering the nacelle for maintenance. The U.S. currently leads the world in the installation of small wind turbines and unabated strong growth is expected through the next decade, thanks to a wide range of continuing federal and state incentives. Overall, the U.S. wind industry now totals 42,432 MW of cumulative wind capacity which amounted to 3.2 percent of the nation's electricity over the strong wind months between January and April 2011. Sector growth in total installed wind capacity is led by Texas, followed by Iowa, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, and Oregon.

In march with this trend, the new wind standards UL 6141 (large turbines) and UL 6142, the first standard of its kind specific to small turbines, are slated for publication by the end of this year. Consumers, installers and inspectors in the U.S. know and trust the UL Mark, so manufacturers with this certification will not only fulfill government regulations but also differentiate their product on the competitive U.S. market.

While the focus of the new standards are on safety, the certification process also provides vital insights into a product’s performance and marketability. As even small wind turbines are complex systems, tested components range from the drive train and inverter/converter to control equipment and lightning protection systems. To expedite the process, early engagement with UL is recommended.

Jason D. Hopkins, Global Business Development Manager, UL Energy

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UL Task Group drives research in consensus-based battery safety standards

Portable energy sources such as rechargeable batteries are driving tremendous innovation in electronic devices, from consumer products to medical equipment to automotive systems and space applications. In order for rechargeable batteries, such as lithium-ion cells, to be commercially viable, they must be able to pack a lot of power into a small volume, while ensuring a long life cycle and high power density – without posing a hazard. However, over the past few years, there have been reports of electronic devices catching fire due to overheating of the battery. Although the lithium-ion cell is designed with integrated passive safeguards, product designers face numerous challenges due to the sheer number of cells on the market, the complexity and continuous improvements to the cells, as well as diverse usage conditions. Consequently, testing for battery safety standards has to keep pace, as well.

Since 2006, incidents involving fire and explosion of common electronic devices such as laptops and toys have been linked to internal short circuit failures. While the internal short circuits may have many causes, the subsequent failure mechanism, thermal runaway, is typically the same. To help address safety concerns, UL has been conducting research on developing a new method for battery safety standards to simulate internal short circuits for cells.

UL is currently leading a Task Group to help transition a suitable internal short circuit test method for consensus-based battery safety standards, such as UL 1642 and IEC 62133. By leading the effort to update battery safety standards, UL strives to enable the safe commercialization of lithium-ion cells and maintain public confidence in portable energy sources.

Mahmood Tabaddor, PhD, Research Manager, UL Energy

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New database simplifies search for UL Certified Durable Labels

UL has just added a helpful new service to the popular UL iQ Family of Databases. iQ for Labels is an online search tool designed to help product compliance engineers quickly find and obtain UL Certified Durable Labels.

The database flexibly enables searches by company name, file number, model/system designation, surface type, temperature, special conditions, applications, exposures and trade name. The result is easy identification of all UL Recognized Labels that meet the selected search criteria.

Launched in response to customer requests, this new service will be of particular interest to those looking for UL Recognized Labels certified under the categories of Marking & Labeling Systems (PGDQ2, PGDQ8), Marking & Labeling System Components (PGGU2, PGGU8), Printing Materials (PGJI2, PGJI8), Limited Use Labels (PGIS2) and Authorized Label Suppliers (PGAA).

Currently, access to any UL iQ database is free, including iQ for Labels. Registration is required, however, for anyone who does have an active MyHome@UL account.

Keith J. Gilbert, Industry Manager for Marking and Labeling, UL Chemicals

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Keeping the PV certification process short and efficient

Certifying PV modules to UL and IEC standards can take as little as 90 days, which includes the minimum duration needed for time-bound testing, such as ageing and weathering.

Many factors play into keeping the process as efficient as possible. One significant advantage UL can offer is extensive testing laboratories around the globe, which are able to handle large numbers of parallel-running tests. With the right preparation, manufacturers can also help speed up the process. UL encourages manufacturers to involve the testing lab’s certification staff as early as the product development stage. For manufacturers requesting certification for the first time, it is best to get in touch with UL right away to make sure all of the administrative and technical considerations can be handled in advance of certifcation testing.

UL’s Global Market Access and Fast Track Certification programs are also highly efficient tools to combine certification and market access efforts in one product submission with one reliable partner.

Also available with quick turnaround are Pre-Certification Evaluation, Research & Development (R&D) Testing as well as Verification, Validation and Reliability Testing. These projects can be initiated and completed quickly, some even within a day or two.

Heike Thomas, Business Development & Marketing, UL Energy

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Visit UL at the following events

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Perfect Power Seal of Approval Academy

19-20 October 2011, in collaboration with the Galvin Electricity Initiative and S&C Electric, UL University is hosting the first-ever Perfect Power Seal of Approval (PPSoA) Academy, an interactive opportunity for grid professionals from across the country to learn how applying performance metrics can maximize smart grid benefits for consumers and stakeholders alike. The workshop will delve into the origin and mechanics of the PPSoA performance rating program and demonstrate how regulators, consumer advocates, vendors and utilities can use the program to ensure smart grid projects deliver top value.

The PPSoA Academy will be held at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus in Chicago.

For further information on this and other UL University offers, including dates, locations and pricing, or to register, please visit

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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, while also enhancing 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:

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