New Lab Planned to Step Up Solar Certifications
Laboratories (UL) said it will build a state-of-the-art photovoltaic
(PV) testing and certification facility in Silicon Valley.
The multi-million dollar investment to build a 16,000-square-foot
facility is intended to increase testing capacity for the renewable
energy industry and get UL-Listed PV products to market faster. UL said
it plans to begin construction in early 2008, expects to hire
approximately 25 technicians and staff over the next five years and
will offer a full portfolio of pre-certification services, including
research and development and training.
"The construction of a UL PV testing facility is great news for the
solar industry. Increased UL testing capacity should translate into
shorter cycle-times for listing solar modules; a critical component in
getting solar end-products to market faster," said Tom Kimbis, acting
program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Program.
Bill Colavecchio, vice president and general manager of UL's Global
Industrial Products Sector, stated: "UL recognizes that renewable
energy is an important growth area and fully intends to provide global
market access services that complement our core expertise in safety
testing and certification."
The global growth rate for PV products has increased to 30 percent
annually during the last few years, according to Worldwatch. The
requirement for PV modules to be listed to UL standards in U.S. and
Canadian markets, as well as to International Electrotechnical
Commission (IEC) standards, has increased demand for product testing
and certification services.
The decision to base the testing facility in Silicon Valley enables
UL to partner with the growing community of solar start-ups and
existing companies that are bringing new technology, including
thin-film PV, concentrated solar power and other cell technologies,
such as CIGS and CdTe, into mainstream production.
UL is working with The Silicon Valley Leadership Group on its
SolarTech Initiative to help reach as many solar product manufacturers
as possible. The partnership will provide the opportunity for
introduction of a safety-related discipline during the early stages of
product development in the PV supply-chain and contribute to providing
an end-to-end solution for PV companies.
For more information on UL's PV services, visit http://www.ul.com/dge.