Photovoltaics

  • Overview +


    Atlas provides a comprehensive selection of weathering and light exposure instruments and services for the photovoltaic (PV), concentrated PV (CPV), and solar-thermal industries for testing both material and module durability. Over 30 years of testing and measurement experience supporting the solar industry.

    Atlas has been a pioneer in photovoltaic durability testing since the first photovoltaic panels for Skylab 1 were exposed in the custom SuperMAQ solar concentrating device at Atlas’ DSET Laboratories in the early 1970’s. In response to industry needs not being addressed with existing testing methods, Atlas introduced the first weathering durability-specific PV module testing program, Atlas 25+, in 2009, and a 4-track inverter reliability test program in 2013.



    Atlas specializes in PV durability at our Solar Test Center in our DSET Laboratories Arizona test site, and with large array grid-tied exposure capability at our Miami test site. Atlas actively supports and participates in major standards and testing initiatives, including the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Photovoltaic Quality Assurance Task Group (PVQAT), the SOPHIA European Research Infrastructures, and others. Atlas also partners with the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology to sponsor a series of biennial Atlas-NIST Workshops on Photovoltaic Materials Durability.

    Atlas xenon arc Weather-Ometers and Xenotest equipment are extensively by major manufacturers and government research labs such as the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, among others, for accelerated weathering tests of PV materials including backsheets and encapsulants, Other polymeric components such as junction boxes, polymeric topsheets, PV balance-of-system (BOS) components and alternative technologies such as Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) are also tested.

  • Atlas Solutions +


    For PV materials, “laminated mini-module” test specimens, and BOS component materials, most laboratory weather and solar durability testing is performed in Ci Series Weather-Ometers or flatbed SUNTEST XXL+ xenon arc lamp weathering instruments. Smaller material test coupons such as polymer backsheet and encapsulant materials can be tested in Xenotest instruments. Testing can also be performed at Atlas’ commercial laboratories in the US and Germany.

    Outdoor accelerated weathering of PV materials and mini-modules can be performed in any of the altazimuth solar tracking and concentrating Equatorial Mount with Mirrors for Acceleration (EMMA/EMMAQUA) suite of devices or the Atlas-NREL jointly developed Ultra Accelerated Weathering System (UAWS).


    Outdoor static testing of ground mount PV modules and BIPV products such as roofing and fenestration, are typically performed at Atlas’ Solar Test Center in Arizona or SFTS Miami test site. The Miami site is additionally equipped for testing grid-tied arrays.

    To supplement the IEC Design Type Qualification tests, Atlas created the first PV module comprehensive weather durability testing program, Atlas 25+. This program has continued to evolve to meet the needs of individual module and backsheet manufacturers and research institutions. A core element of Atlas 25+ is our large solar/environmental test chamber at our Arizona Solar Test Center. This provides realistic cyclic environmental testing under various climate conditions with modules operating under solar load.

    To supplement the IEC Design Type Qualification tests, Atlas created the first PV module comprehensive weather durability testing program, Atlas 25+. This program has continued to evolve to meet the needs of individual module and backsheet manufacturers and research institutions. A core element of Atlas 25+ is our large solar/environmental test chamber at our Arizona Solar Test Center. This provides realistic cyclic environmental testing under various climate conditions with modules operating under solar load.

    Atlas Custom Systems provides large scale standard and custom solar simulation systems which can also be integrated into environmental chambers

    Atlas can customize tests and programs to meet specific client needs and objectives. In addition, our Solar Test Center in Arizona can provide:
    • Accelerated outdoor exposures using the EMMAQUA solar concentrating system capable of exposing individual cells or complete modules
    • 100x UV solar exposure for material durability and material qualification studies
    • SolarClimatic solar/environmental testing for temperature cycling under solar loading with or without moisture and freeze/thaw
    • I-V curve tracing (outdoor or steady state solar simulator)
    • Electroluminescence and thermal imaging
    • Wet leakage current measurements
    • Six luminary SolarConstant solar simulation system
    • Specialized and custom test services for solar PV and thermal systems
    • ISO accredited solar radiometric measurements and calibrations
    • Various qualification tests per UL 1703, IEC 61215 and IEC 61646
  • Testing Standards +


    • IEC 60904 Photovoltaic Devices: Part 1: Measurement of Photovoltaic Current-Voltage Characteristics. Part 3: Measurement Principles for Terrestrial Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Devices with Reference Spectral Irradiance Data. Part 10: Methods of Linearity Measurement
    • IEC 61215 (2005– 04), Sections 10.1-10.13, 10.15, & 10.18 Crystalline Silicon Terrestrial PV Modules, Design Qualification & Type Approval
    • IEC 61646 (2008-05), Sections 10.1 – 10.13, 10.15, 10.18, & 10.19 Thin Film Terrestrial PV Modules, Design Qualification & Type Approval
    • IEC 61730-2 (2004) Sections 10.1, 10.4, 10.6, 10.7, & 10.9 Photovoltaic (PV) Module Safety Qualification. Part 1: Requirements for Construction. Part 2: Requirements for Testing.
    • IEC 61853-1 Photovoltaic (PV) Modules Performance Testing And Energy Rating. Part 1: Irradiance and Temperature Performance Measurements.
    • IEC 62108 (2007-12) Sections 10.1 – 10.8, 10.10 – 10.11, & 10.14 – 10.17.
    • MIL (Military Standard) MIL 810G Solar Radiation (Sunshine) – Steady State for Prolonged Actinic Effects, Method 505.5, Procedure II
    • UL 1703 (2008) Sections: 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 33, 34, 35, 36, & 39 Flat Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels UL 8703 Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9 Concentrator Photovoltaic Modules and Assemblies
    • ULC/ORD – C1703 Sections: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.8, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.15, 5.16, 5.17, 5.18, & 5.21
  • Education and Training +

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