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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 Kassel, 22nd September 2009.


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 moduleintegrated 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 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. The R&D spectrum of the new Fraunhofer IWES

The research areas of the new Fraunhofer IWES will include the whole wind energy spectrum from materials development to grid optimization as well as energy systems technology for use of all forms of renewable energies:

• Engineering and operation of wind energy turbines and parks • Development of components: rotors, power trains and foundations • Fluid elasticity and dynamics • Environmental analysis for wind and ocean energy technology • Control and system integration of decentralized energy converters and storages • Energy management and grid operation • Energy supply structures and systems analysis

Through the fusion of the institutes in Bremerhaven and Kassel and the development of further infrastructures and fields of competence, the present products and services offered by the individual sites will be considerably consolidated. This will be rounded off simultaneously by the planned development of the mainly fundamentally-oriented key research areas of the four cooperating Universities of Hanover, Bremen, Oldenburg and Kassel. After a developmental phase of about five years, a total of more than 200 employees will carry out research and development for both national and international partners.

The specialist expertise of Fraunhofer IWES integrates in a broadly transdisciplinary manner all the relevant technical disciplines with emphasis put on electrical engineering, energy systems technology, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, physics of fluids and energy meteorology. Through the partner institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, especially the Energy Alliance (www.energie.fraunhofer.de), the expertise of the other Fraunhofer institutes is directly on hand. The European Network of Excellence DERlab

In the network of excellence DERlab (European Distributed Energy Resources Laboratories), supported by the European Commission, the Fraunhofer IWES has been developing – along with ten European project partners – joint requirements and quality criteria for the connection and operation of distributed energy resources since the end of 2005. With the foundation of the association DERlab in September 2008, the project partners sealed their further co-operation even when the six-year project is completed. Thus after 2011 they will continue to use the laboratory infrastructure jointly and exchange research results, personnel and know-how. The European project PV-MIPS

Together with eleven European partners, the Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel develops within the research project PV-MIPS a solar module with integrated inverter that can feed its electricity directly into the public grid. With this new product, the project partners want to reduce the total costs of a solar system down to 3 Euro per Watt.

Further information: www.iset.uni-kassel.de, www.der-lab.net, www.pvmips.org