TUV Rheinland, FM Approvals Developing Two New Approval Standards

FM Approvals, a third-party testing laboratory for the certification of commercial roofing products, and TUV Rheinland PTL LLC say they have partnered to deliver two new 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), are currently undergoing final review and will be released by the end of the year. 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, the companies explain. All FM-approved PV modules will be listed in FM Approvals' online roofing resource, RoofNav.

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., and TUV Rheinland 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 tests for the following:

  • 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: the 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 – Applies only to Approval Standard 4478.

SOURCE: TUV Rheinland

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