Underwriters Laboratories Expands Global Photovoltaic Footprint to Japan
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), announced the opening of a testing and certification facility for photovoltaic (PV) equipment in Ise City, Mie Prefecture, Japan. In addition to offering performance and safety testing services for PV equipment in Japan, the facility will provide technical support to Japanese PV equipment manufacturers as they develop their businesses and enter overseas markets.
The global demand for sustainable energy generating sources, such as PV systems, has increased. The governments of the U.S. and Japan, as well as market-leading Germany, continue to take proactive steps to develop the PV market and accelerate PV equipment production. In Japan the government’s roadmap for reaching greenhouse gas reduction targets includes a national policy to expand the reach of PV power generation to 10 million households by 2020, which constitutes a 21-fold increase compared with 2005.
PV systems, which consist of PV modules and panels, junction boxes, inverters and power converters, are permanently installed on roofs or ground-supported frames and thus are prone to degradation due to wind, rain, hail and age. Accordingly, improving the safety and verifying performance of PV systems is critical for them to receive widespread adoption.
UL has been engaged in formulating PV equipment safety specifications and standards since the 1980s, and has contributed to the safe operation of PV equipment by providing safety testing and certification services for PV equipment manufacturers worldwide.
"We continue to expand our service capabilities to meet the recent increase in global demand for PV product evaluation services," said Jeff Smidt, Vice President and General Manager for UL’s Global Energy business. Just within the last couple of years, UL has opened PV testing facilities similar to the new Ise City facility, in San Jose, California, U.S.; Suzhou, China; and Zeppelinheim, Neu-Isenburg, Germany. "With further plans to open a testing facility in India, UL is implementing a concrete, large-scale investment plan in North America, Asia, and Europe, which are the world’s largest PV markets."
The new PV testing facility in Ise City has 14 cutting-edge testing chambers on a 2,000 square-meter (approx. 21,000 square-feet) site. It is fully equipped with solar simulators emitting artificial sunlight, impact testers (which test the durability of a device against physical impact) and hail testers. Moreover, to meet strict testing requirements, the facility is staffed by engineers and technicians with expert knowledge of PV testing work.