Intertek's Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) subsidiary has opened the PV Certification Testing Lab in Cortland, N.Y. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided a portion of the funding of the center under the state's N.Y.-Sun initiative launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The facility will test generating capacity; performance over time; impacts of snow, extreme temperature and other adverse weather conditions; and other aspects of solar generation performance. Lab equipment will also perform electroluminescence testing, which can be used to spot stress cracks and other minute damage to panel composite materials. Specialized ovens will be used to test for accelerated aging in heat and cold, simulating years of exposure in weeks.
According to NYSERDA, the nearest solar panel testing laboratories are located in the southeastern U.S. and California. Locating a testing site in New York will allow scientists to test equipment performance during the extreme winter and summer conditions in the Northeast, as well as offer ease of access and convenience to solar panel manufacturers based in this region, the state agency says.