Spi-Sun simulator sets the standard


Courtesy of Spire Solar

Solar Simulators are critical to the industry testing photovoltaic modules featuring light sources that closely match the solar spectrum. Spire’s simulators can test the full range of solar modules – including crystalline or thin film. The importance of solar simulation is clear – solar modules must be tested under a standard set of conditions to assure consistency of results. It’s critical in the manufacturing of solar modules that a simulator possesses specific and proper specifications. A basic property includes fitting into factory automation. Testing agencies demand the highest level of technical performance. These agencies will use this to verify the modules of all module manufactures. All well-known testing agencies use the Spi-Sun Simulator from Spire.

UL is the primary entity for certifying module design and performance in the United States. All modules produced anywhere in the world will require UL approval for commercial sale in the United States. In-depth testing of new designs is required to achieve and maintain certification, and Spire will provide UL with multiple Spi-Sun Simulator 4600 Single Long Pulse systems. Bill Colavecchio, Vice President and General Manager of UL’s Global Industrial Products Sector stated, “We require the systems we use in certification to be of the highest caliber. We did an exhaustive search of the technology available and are pleased to be receiving a system from Spire.”

US Department of Energy’s NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) is one of several laboratories worldwide that is currently accredited to perform current-voltage (I-V) measurements of photovoltaic modules and issue International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certificates and is a world leader in developing and utilizing test instrumentation for the photovoltaic industry. With the advancement in the size of the modules being developed and manufactured today, NREL requires an advanced pulsed simulator that will handle these larger units.

To assure that the illumination from Spire’s solar simulators meets the rigorous spectral standards set by ASTM International and IEC, stable, accurate, and reliable measurement instrumentation is required, NREL has developed the Pulse Analysis Spectroradiometer System (PASS) for this purpose. Spire recently took delivery of the only PASS unit outside of NREL to confirm and validate accuracy of Spire’s existing testing instruments. Utilization of this sophisticated device and software will help assure that Spire’s simulators continue to meet the high quality specifications for spectral accuracy demanded by the photovoltaic industry.

TÜV North America delivers premier independent testing, assessment, and certification services to help companies gain access into global markets. TÜV chose Spire’s Spi-Sun Simulator 4600 SLP for their test and certification operations in the United States which includes significantly upgrading the technology and know-how of the former Arizona State University Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL). With a new facility and additional human resources, the laboratory more than doubles its previous capacity and now provides a unique one-stop source for clients to get full testing and certification for all safety and performance standards in use by the industry anywhere in the world.

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