SOURCE: Underwriters Laboratories

December 18, 2007 17:56 ET

Underwriters Laboratories to Build Photovoltaic Module Testing and Certification Facility in Silicon Valley

NORTHBROOK, IL--(Marketwire - December 18, 2007) - Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a world leader in product safety testing and certification, announced it will build a state-of-the-art photovoltaic (PV) testing and certification facility in the Silicon Valley.

The multi-million dollar investment to build a 16,000-square-foot facility is intended to increase testing capacity for the renewable energy industry and get UL-Listed photovoltaic (PV) products to market faster. UL said it plans to begin construction in early 2008, expects to hire approximately 25 technicians and staff over the next five years, and will offer a full portfolio of pre-certification services, including research and development and training.

"The construction of a UL PV testing facility is great news for the solar industry. Increased UL testing capacity should translate into shorter cycle-times for listing solar modules; a critical component in getting solar end-products to market faster," says Tom Kimbis, Acting Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Program.

"UL recognizes that renewable energy is an important growth area and fully intends to provide global market access services that complement our core expertise in safety testing and certification," says Bill Colavecchio, vice president and General Manager of UL's Global Industrial Products Sector.

The global growth rate for PV products has increased to 30 percent annually during the last few years, according to Worldwatch. The requirement for PV modules to be listed to UL standards in U.S. and Canadian markets, as well as to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards has increased demand for product testing and certification services.

The decision to base the testing facility in Silicon Valley enables UL to partner with the growing community of solar start-ups and existing companies who are bringing new technology, including thin-film PV, concentrated solar power and other cell technologies, such as CIGS and CdTe, into mainstream production.

UL is working with The Silicon Valley Leadership Group on its SolarTech Initiative to help reach as many solar product manufacturers as possible. The partnership will provide the opportunity for introduction of a safety-related discipline during the early stages of product development in the PV supply-chain and contribute to providing an end-to-end solution for PV companies.

"This collaborative agreement with UL opens the pipeline for new technologies in Silicon Valley and will foster innovation, create jobs and grow the industry," said Tom McCalmont, chair of SolarTech and CEO of REgrid Power.

For more information on UL's PV services, visit http://www.ul.com/dge. You can also contact UL's Customer Service representatives at +1 877-UL-HELPS.

For information on the Solar America Initiative, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/solar_america/index.html and Solar America Board for Codes and Standards at http://www.solarabcs.org.

For more information on SolarTech, visit www.solartech.org or www.svlg.net.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 21 billion UL Marks appearing on 71,000 manufacturers' products each year. UL's worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 66 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 104 countries. UL is also the only National Certification Body (NCB) for PV in North America and an OSHA-accredited Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Visit: www.UL.com/newsroom.

Contact Information

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