Going Green's Terry Ettinger looks at certification testing for an average solar panel for your home.
How do you know if the solar panels being installed on your home or business are safe and will they perform like they're supposed too?
Going Green's Terry Ettinger says the answer is photovoltaic panels are tested and certified.
“You have to get what’s called an NRLT mark, that’s a National Recognized Testing Lab mark and that shows the purchaser, the installer, the electrical inspector that the product meets the requirements for solar modules put in place for the U.S. market,” said Troy Hewtt of Intertek.
This equipment in this laboratory is primarily for certification testing.
“Some of it is basic electrical safety so that it’s not going to become a hazard to the user or the people who are going to be around the equipment and some of it is about the performance of the modules, what power it produces, that type of thing,” Hewtt said.
Weather changes put a lot of stress on PV modules but it’s hard to see any damaging or degrading effects because the units are so tightly packaged.
“So part of what we’ll do is simulate the effect of the environment over time by putting the PV modules in chambers where we can cycle the temperature up and down first making it very hot and then very cold. We ramp up the humidity and then ramp it down to freezing temperatures and go through cycles like that which is like an accelerated aging application,” Hewtt said.
Then they measure the performance of the PV module.