Becomes the fifth lab in the United States
Raleigh, N.C. – The Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) approved the N.C. Solar Center Test Lab to perform testing of solar thermal collectors (aka solar hot water panels) for SRCC OG-100 certification, making it just the fifth such lab in the United States. This collector certification is the market standard and is required for a residential solar hot water system to be eligible to receive the federal 30 percent renewable energy tax credit. Recently, the test lab also received ISO 17025 accreditation from A2LA, which is a quality standard for testing laboratories (similar to ISO 9000, but for testing and calibration laboratories). The accredited testing includes a series of quality and performance tests, such as a pressure test, an impact test and an efficiency test. The lab is now accepting requests from manufacturers for this accredited testing.
In addition to the accredited testing of flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal collectors, the lab also offers a wide range of custom testing of solar thermal, as well as photovoltaic technologies. Such testing is useful to firms developing new technologies that need trusted independent performance data, or large solar purchasers looking to validate the performance and quality of a product they are considering purchasing. The lab’s capabilities range from low temperature solar air heating panels, to high temperature concentrating solar, and to field performance of photovoltaic modules and inverters. N.C. Solar Center engineers perform the testing; however the lab does offer N.C. State students opportunities to support testing and the development of new testing capabilities, such as a current mechanical engineering graduate student working to develop solar tank and heat exchanger test systems.
The N.C. Solar Center is within the College of Engineering at N.C. State University, and has performed solar product testing since the 1990’s; however this is the first time it has applied for ISO 17025 accreditation or SRCC approval. The motivation to become accredited, which required a major laboratory overhaul, came from a significant testing backlog that occurred due to expanded federal tax credits for solar, and the ensuing influx of new collectors in the U.S. market that needed testing and certification to be eligible for the tax credits. That backlog has since dissipated, but the need for testing of solar thermal collectors to verify performance and quality remains. A Green Business Fund grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce made the development of the lab possible, but required additional investment from the Center to complete the lab upgrades.
About the North Carolina Solar Center
The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu. Twitter: @NCSolarCenter
Media Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, firstname.lastname@example.org