By Guido Volberg
Photovoltaic (PV) modules and components are products which have to withstand the diverse effects of extreme conditions during their lifetime. The wide range of climatic conditions and possible mechanical stresses must be taken into account when designing a PV component. To assess whether the quality of a product is sufficient to withstand such influences, some international standards have been developed. TÜV Rheinland operates several ISO 17025-accredited laboratories worldwide for type approval testing of PV components – such as junction boxes, connectors and cables – as well as concentrating PV modules, flat-plate modules and solar thermal systems. Experience of testing PV components has been gained over the last 12 years, and even over the last 20 years in the case of PV modules. New developments in photovoltaics mean that continuous development and review of standards is necessary.