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PV unit1

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PV Module Test Standards:

EN/IEC 61215; Chrystaline silicon terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules, design qualification and type approval.

EN/IEC 61646; Thin film terrestial photovoltaic modules, design qualification and type approval.

EN/IEC 61730-2; Safety qualification for photovoltaic modules, part 2.

Although these standards test the PV modules electrically in different ways, the temperature and humidity conditions/programs are the same, i.e:
Test 10.11, Thermal cycling test: Cycle time 6 hours, max. ramp of 100C/hour, min. dwell time 10 mins., 50 cycles without current flow, 200 cycles with current flow above 25C.
Test 10.12, Humidity freeze test: Cycle time 24 hours, max. ramp of 100C/hour down to 0C and 200C/hour down to -40C, min. dwell time 30 mins. at -40C, 10 cycles.
Test 10.13, Damp heat test: 85C +/- 2C at 85 % relative humidity (RH) +/- 5%RH for 1000 hours.

Also used:

EN/IEC 62108 (2007); Concentrator photovoltaic modules (CPV), design qualification and design certification.
Test 10.6, Thermal cycling test: 10 to 18 cycles/day, 25C to -40C, 10 mins. min. at -40C, ramp up to t max. for that PV module, 10 mins. min. at t max., then ramp down to 25C.
Test 10.8, Humidity freeze test: 
Ramp from ambient to the PV module t max. at 100C/hour max, min. dwell time at t max. of 20 hours then ramp down to 0C at max. 100C/hour. During this the relative humidity should be 85%RH +/- 5%RH when the temp. is at or above ambient. When 0C is reached the ramp rate increases to 200C/hour max. to -40C. Min. dwell time at -40C is 0.5 hour. Then ramp to 0C at 200C/hour max. and to ambient temp at 200C/hour max.
Test 10.7, Damp heat test: 85C (or 65C) +/- 2C at 85 % relative humidity (RH) +/- 5%RH for 1000 (or 2000) hours.

ANSI/UL 1703 (05/2004); Standards for flat plate PV modules and panels.
Performance 35, Temperature cycling test: 25C to -40C at 120C/hour max. Dwell time at -40C between 0.5 and 1.75 hours. Ramp up to 90C at 120C/hour max. 
Dwell time at 90C between 0.5 and 1.75 hours. Ramp down to 25C at 120C/hour max. 200 cycles.
Performance 36, Humidity test: 25C to 85C at 120C/hour max. Min. dwell time at 85C of 20 hours. 85% RH maintained while at 85C. Ramp down to 0C at 120C/hors max. Ramp down to -40C at 200C/hour. Min. dwell time at -40C of 0.5 hour. Then ramp up to 0C at 200C/hour max., then ramp up to 25C at 120C/hour max. 10 cycles.

Note: UL tests specify air temps. whereas IEC specify module temps. This means that a stronger refrigeration and heating system is required.

UV Preconditioning Tests:

IEC 61215 and 61646, Test 10.10: Module temp. 60C +/- 5C. Total UV radiation 15 kWh/m², wavelength 280nm to 385nm (IEC 61215) or 400nm (IEC 61646),  UV-B irradiation min. 5kWh/m² (>37% from UV total) in IEC 61215 or 3 to 10% from UV total (0.45 to 1.5 kWh/m²) in IEC 61646.
Test 10.10 IEC 61215 may be harmonised to test 10.10 of IEC 61646 in the future, see Decision sheet no. DSH-733.

Chamber choice and design considerations:
Although it is possible to purchase one chamber to perform most of the PV tests, it is better to use more than one chamber. This is mainly due to the length of different tests, e.g. 10.13 takes 1000 hours min. whereas other tests are shorter and could be run in tandem with 10.13.
Choose a chamber size based on module size and number, weight of modules and locaton in your facility.

For the thermal cycling and humidity freeze tests the chamber should have:
-40C to 85C temp. range.
Fast cooling using a cascade refrigeration system.
Ramp rate with PV modules of approx. 1.7 C/min to 3 C/min.
Compressed air dryer to prevent condensation and/or a fresh air flushing system to protect against toxic gas emmissions.
A strong humidity system and steam proof welded inner test area skin for the humidity freeze test.
Temp sensor for PV module temp measuring as an option.
A rack for the PV modules as an option.

Votsch offer a full range of solutions for PV testing. These include standard chambers, height design chambers for long modules, XXL chambers, walk in chambers and chambers for UV preconditioning.


Please contact Dave on +353 (0)87 237 0674 or email for details.


See also: Testing for PV modules.