Just like electronics, vehicles, and other consumer products, solar panels go through rigorous testing before they can be purchased and technicians can install them in your home. The reasons behind this are simple – because without testing, there’s no way to ensure that your solar panels will be of high quality, efficient, and safe to put on your roof.
The Importance of Solar Panel Testing
If a solar panel system is of proper quality compared to industry standards, it should have a lifespan of at least 25 years. Some of the top panels can even last 30 years or more. To ensure that solar panels will give you the electricity you need to power your home for that long, it is imperative that the equipment be tested and checked for quality.
In addition, there are several state governments and local municipalities that have rolled out regulations and mandates specifically for solar panels that will be installed in homes that are also still on the grid. This is the majority of homes since most solar systems must still be connected to the grid to be effective. State-funded solar incentive programs also have safety and quality testing requirements. To be eligible for your home to participate in these programs, it’s likely that your solar panel system will be required to be tested in order to receive state or local government funds or tax credits.
Most Common Solar Panel Certifications
There are several certifications that are the most common when looking into installing a solar panel system in your home. Many of them have acronyms and numbers on a spec sheet that can be confusing for the layperson. Below we lay out what some of the most common acronyms mean.
IEC – International Electrotechnical Commission
This commission sets assessment standards on many electronic devices. Most notably here, they set standards for photovoltaic (PV) panels. However, the IEC doesn’t test any electronics or award certifications, rather they set the quality standards for other testing organizations. One of the main standards for the IEC is 61215, which sets the bar for PV panels. The IEC puts these panels through rigorous testing for performance, quality, and safety. These standards include load tests for wind and snow, electrical components, as well as climate tests for precipitation impact, humidity, freezing, and exposure to UV rays.
Standard Test Conditions (STC)
Standard test conditions are fixed laboratory conditions that are common among testing facilities. This is a must for testing certifications because if conditions are different for one solar model, it could give the appearance it performs better than its competitors. These standard tests include voltage, efficiency, power rating, and so on.
UL is one of the other most common standard testing providers. UL is an international company based in America. In addition to solar panels, they provide safety testing for industrial equipment, electric appliances, and plastics. UL 61730 is quickly becoming an industry standard for solar panel safety testing, combining procedures of UL 1703 and IEC 61730. Combining testing certifications from two organizations is attractive to manufacturers because it saves time and resources.
There are many other certifications given to the quality and safety of your solar panels. The experts here at All-In-One-Energy Pros will answer any of your questions before, during, and after the installation and maintenance of your solar panel system.