The Better the classification of photovoltaic modules in the fire classes from A to C (A being highest), the more certainty the homeowners and building users have about fire resistance of their solar power system. In the classification tests it is possible to verify how safe the panel is when it is exposed, for example, to an ignited firework. "With Solarwatt panels, customers have products on their roof which meet the highest safety and quality standards. With fire class A, we can reliably prove this. For our installation partners, the certificate is another important argument for glass-glass technology", explains Norbert Betzl, Director of Product Management Solar Panles at Solarwatt.
Until now, the glass-glass panels produced in Dresden were automatically awarded the fire class C certificate, as they meet all basic safety criteria in the event of fire. Following further successful tests, the VDE certificate will now be increased from fire class C to class A for all products in the 60x series. After completion of the tests required for class A, the PV panels tested still served up two thirds of their original output.
Two-step testing procedure
The IEC 61730-2 standard describes requirements for materials and components as well as for the entire PV panel. Two tests are carried out in the fire class certification procedure for solar panels:
In the spread-of-flame test for class A, the surface of the selected PV element is exposed to a gas flame with a combustion power of 378 kW for 10 minutes under the influence of wind. The test laboratory uses this to assess the spread of flame on the top of the panel and between the roofing and the solar panels mounted on top.
During the burning fire test, a block of wood placed on the module is ignited and it is observed whether an external fire under the influence of wind causes the modules to burn or even burn through. To pass the test, no glowing or burning parts must fall from the test stand and damage to the module must be kept to a minimum. (HCN)