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Europe-wide Standardised Outdoor Tests for PV Modules

The Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel, Germany and the association DERlab e.V. are presenting for the first time Europe-wide standardised outdoor tests for PV modules at the world's largest solar energy conference EU PVSEC

Module manufacturers sell their products all over the world.

And yet, since unified standards are lacking, a location-specific, direct product comparison has not been possible. This will change at the end of September. The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) from Kassel, Germany, and its European project partners of the Network of Excellence DERlab have developed standards and measuring methods for long-term tests of solar modules.

For the first time the researchers will present this new service for module manufacturers within the world's largest solar energy conference EU PVSEC (European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference & Exhibition) from 21 to 24 September in Hamburg, Germany.

The quality standard developed by the DERlab partners (stands for European Distributed Energy Resources Laboratories) is based on standardised test procedures and data formats as well as evaluation services and uniform reports. "We have harmonised our long-term measurements for solar modules all over Europe", explains Dr. Philipp Strauss, Division Director of Systems Engineering and Grid Integration at the Fraunhofer IWES and spokesman of the board of DERlab e.V.

"For our measurements, we do not only examine the location-specific yield, but also the influence that ambient conditions have on the module output." In field tests, running in parallel, the researchers measure the solar modules under real conditions at the most diverse European locations. A further module serves as a reference and is stored in the dark.

Very High Measuring Accuracy
The Fraunhofer IWES has developed the measuring card ISET MPP meter for the automated measurements, which should last at least a year. "Every 15 seconds, it records the short-circuit current and the open-circuit voltage as well as the current and voltage at the maximum power point (MPP) of the solar module", explains Dr. Norbert Henze, Group Manager of Engineering and Measuring Technology at the Fraunhofer IWES. "In addition, it measures the irradiation intensity needed for the exact comparison, as well as the module temperature." In a one minute cycle the measuring card captures the entire voltage/current characteristic. The measuring inaccuracy lies at much less than 1 percent. The DERlab partners also offer further measurement services according to customers' wishes.
Visit us in Hamburg from 21 to 24 September!
Along with the outdoor measurements and the measuring card ISEP MPP meter, the Fraunhofer IWES is presenting at its stand a three-phase, grid-connected module-integrated inverter for high-voltage solar modules. This inverter was developed within the project PV- MIPS that is coordinated from Kassel and is funded by the European Commission (DG-TREN). You can find us in Hall B7, Stand 64a, at the Messe Hamburg, Messeplatz 1, 20357 Hamburg, Germany. We look forward to your visit!
ISET is now Fraunhofer IWES
With its entry in Munich's register of associations on 17 August 2009, the successful Kassel-based solar research institute ISET (Institute for Solar Energy Provision Technology) was merged into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Founded 21 years ago, ISET is now part of the new Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) and employs in Kassel currently more than 180 scientists, employees and students working on electrical engineering and energy system technology for photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass and ocean energy. The other part of Fraunhofer IWES is based in Bremerhaven and emerged from the former Fraunhofer Center for Wind Energy and Ocean Engineering CWMT in Bremerhaven. In addition, Fraunhofer IWES is to set up Fraunhofer project groups in Hanover and Oldenburg.

The Fraunhofer IWES is one of 60 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which is the leading supporting organisation for applied research facilities in Germany.

Uwe Krengel | Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
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