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Photovoltaic Module Manufacturers Can Now Get Products Certified and to Market Easier and Faster

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New Testing Service from FM Approvals and TÜV Rheinland.

BOSTON, Mass., USA [WorldofRenewables.com]

In the highly competitive photovoltaic product market, manufacturers are pressured daily by the burgeoning demands of end-users to get new products developed, independently certified and to market quicker than ever before. As a result, FM Approvals (www.fmapprovals.com), the leading third-party testing laboratory for the certification of commercial roofing products, and TÜV Rheinland PTL LLC, the world leader in solar and photovoltaic (PV) testing, announced today they have joined forces to deliver the most comprehensive Approval Standards available for both flexible and rigid PV modules.

The new FM Approval Standard 4476, Approval Standard for Flexible Photovoltaic Modules, and Approval Standard 4478, Approval Standard for Rigid Photovoltaic Modules, currently are undergoing final review and will be released by the end of 2010. These new standards will enable PV module manufacturers and others to obtain FM Approval for their products when used as part of an FM Approved roofing assembly. All FM Approved PV modules will be listed in FM Approvals’ online roofing resource, RoofNav (www.roofnav.com).

Under an agreement signed by the two testing laboratories, FM Approvals will test the fire and natural hazard performance of PV modules as part of complete large-scale roof assemblies at its Natural Hazards Laboratory in West Glocester, R.I., USA.

TÜV Rheinland PTL will provide the electrical safety and performance certification testing required by the new FM Approval standards.

Both of the new PV standards by FM Approvals feature requirements for:

* Combustibility From Above the Roof Deck – tests combustibility in accordance with ASTM E108 and exposes the solar panel to a simulated wind-blown fire.
* Wind Resistance – test criteria varies depending on whether the panel is flexible and adhered directly to a roof membrane or a rigid panel that requires a separate mounting apparatus.
* Hail Damage Resistance – two test methods are available: Severe Hail Damage Resistance Test (Class SH) or the Moderate Hail Test (Class MH).
* Electrical Safety – both flexible and rigid modules must meet the electrical safety requirements of IEC/EN 61730 or ANSI/UL 1703.

· Electrical Performance – flexible or thin-film modules must meet the performance requirements of IEC/EN 61646 and rigid (crystalline silicon) modules IEC/EN 61215.

* Seismic Resistance – (Approval Standard 4478 only)

“To best meet the needs of both manufacturers and end users, FM Approvals believed it was in our customers’ best interest to enlist the help of the world leader in photovoltaic electrical testing,” noted Paris Stavrianidis, FM Approvals general manager. “TÜV Rheinland maintains the industry’s most extensive global network of PV testing laboratories and FM Approvals has a long-standing interlaboratory relationship with them. This combination of factors made them a natural choice that fits perfectly with the global scope of FM Approvals.”

According to Stephan Schmitt, President and CEO of TÜV Rheinland North America Holding, FM Approvals’ new standards for PV systems represent a significant benefit to the industry. “It is important that the industry, including panel manufacturers, installers and property owners, understands the importance of these new standards and their relationship to property loss prevention. There are inherent risks when these systems are installed on rooftops, and FM Approvals is being very proactive in releasing these new Approval Standards.”

FM Approvals tests and certifies products and services that meet its rigorous property loss prevention standards. Architects, consulting engineers, plant managers and product buyers rely on FM Approvals to help them make well-informed decisions about which products and services on the market will best reduce their property loss risks.

About FM Approvals

FM Approvals, a member of the FM Global Group, offers worldwide certification and testing services of industrial and commercial loss prevention products. Recognized and respected across the globe, FM Approvals certification assures customers that a product or service has been objectively tested and conforms to the highest national and international standards. Visit www.fmapprovals.com for more information about FM Approvals and its complimentary online resources dedicated to property loss prevention, including the Approval Guide and RoofNav.

About TÜV Rheinland

TÜV Rheinland is the worldwide leader in market access, helping businesses gain international approvals in more than 200 countries. The company delivers premier independent certification, testing, and assessment services for many industry sectors. TÜV Rheinland eases the path to compliance with technical expertise, cost-effective pricing and quick turnaround times. The $1.5 billion corporation is comprised of an international network of more than 13,300 employees in 61 countries. For more information, visit www.us.tuv.com.

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