TORONTO, CANADA: CSA Group has announced a reciprocal testing services agreement for photovoltaic modules with German VDE Testing and Certification Institute.
In addition, CSA Group and VDE will work with the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) to jointly open a new solar technology testing facility in the US Southwest.
The reciprocal testing services agreement is effective immediately. It will enable both organizations to test products to current applicable standards and accept testing reports. With one test, CSA International and VDE solar photovoltaic clients will now be able to access global markets, while decreasing development costs, time to market and redundant testing and certification.
Under the joint agreement, all parties will invest in and share ownership of a new testing facility specifically designed to meet the future needs of the solar photovoltaic industry. The new facility will be built in the U.S. Southwest in late 2010 and will test products to ULC/ORD-C1703, UL 1703 and IEC 61730 safety standards, as well as IEC 61215 and IEC 61646 performance standards.
"By working with research and certification leaders, such as VDE, Fraunhofer ISE and CSE, we will provide clients with one-test certification, improved and timely access to global markets along with access to cutting-edge solar photovoltaic testing technologies and research and development capabilities," says Ash Sahi, president and CEO, CSA Group.
"The VDE Institute has been successfully involved with CSA Group and the innovation experts from Fraunhofer for many years," says Wilfried Jäger, Managing Director, VDE Testing and Certification Institute.
"With this joint venture we are creating a global center of excellence for photovoltaics. Our customers, who work to develop solar technologies in accordance with the global climate change programs, will benefit and will pass the benefits to their customers. While utilizing the latest technology during extensive testing in Europe, Asia, and North America, we now can offer access to the global market."
The VDE Institute has many different accreditations from around the world. Among others, it is accredited by the Central Body of the Laender for Safety (ZLS) for the VDE-GS mark for photovoltaic components and systems.
Under the terms of the agreement, VDE will offer clients access to CSA certification marks for North America. Similarly, CSA International will offer clients access to the VDE-, VDE-GS-, VDE-EMC-Marks, CB certificates and EC Declarations of Conformity as a basis for the CE marking in Europe on photovoltaic products.
Fraunhofer ISE and CSE will ensure that the new test facility will be set up and operated with the latest PV technologies in mind. Roland Schindler, Executive Director of Fraunhofer CSE and Senior Researcher at ISE remarked that "The new certification test facility will be another way for Fraunhofer to contribute to the market introduction of innovative, cost-saving PV technologies."
As a long standing leader in solar energy technology, Fraunhofer ISE's world-class research and development test center in Freiburg, Germany and the PV module testing and certification service in Singapore, jointly operated by VDE and Fraunhofer are a welcome addition to CSA Group's photovoltaic testing and certification capabilities in their Vancouver, B.C. laboratories.