Solar America Board for Codes and Standards Releases: New Policy Recommendation

Las Cruces, NM – May 17, 2011 The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) has released a new policy recommendation that recommends the measured average power for a PV module shall be equal to or higher than the nominal nameplate power rating and that no individual module power shall be more than 3% below nominal.

This recommended policy is written in conformity with the performance conditions as outlined in the IEC Standard 61853-1 and is the same as the existing standard used in Europe (EN 50380) with the addition of a specific lower/upper limit for the production tolerance and removing uncertainty on measured power as it varies from one lab to the other and from one test/reference technology to the other. In addition, without power rating data at various low/high irradiance and temperature conditions, the energy collection predictions for installed PV modules and systems will not be accurate.

Furthermore, this policy recommendation is important because without a power rating tol­erance policy, some PV modules may continue to have a significantly lower power output than the module’s rating indicates. This results in reduced performance of installed PV systems that will not meet consumers' expectations. "If overrating of modules continues, it will jeopardize the credibility of PV performance predictions with the general population and could slow progress toward wide adoption of solar energy technologies," said Mr. Larry Sherwood, Project Administrator, Solar ABCs, "we are dedicated to developing recommended policies that address the current consumer and industry concerns and are committed to creating high standards that support the growth of the U.S. PV market."

The Solar ABCs has released a policy document giving more detail on this recommendation and can be downloaded at The Solar ABCs is also developing a recommended standard to implement this policy recommendation.

About Solar ABCs

The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) is a collaborative effort among experts to formally gather and prioritize input from the broad spectrum of solar photovoltaic stakeholders including policy makers, manufacturers, installers, and consumers resulting in coordinated recommendations to codes and standards making bodies for existing and new solar technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy funds Solar ABCs as part of its commitment to facilitate widespread adoption of safe, reliable, and cost-effective solar technologies.

Solar ABCs Policy Recommendation Statement:

"It is recommended that photovoltaic module types sold or installed in the United States be independently measured and certified to the following power rating tolerance: after accounting for the light induced degradation as per IEC 61215 (crystalline silicon) or IEC 61646 (thin film), the measured average power shall be equal to or higher than the nominal nameplate power rating at STC (standard test conditions) and no individual module power shall be more than 3% below nominal. In addition, the modules shall be rated at a minimum at the four other reference conditions given in IEC 61853-1 standard: 200 W/m2 & 25oC cell temperature; 500 W/m2 & 15oC cell temperature; 1000 W/m2 & 75oC cell temperature; 800 W/m2 & 20oC ambient temperature."

For more information, visit

Media contact: Mr. Larry Sherwood, 303-413-8028