rooftop solar system

TÜV Rheinland Offers Fire Testing Services Per Latest UL 1703 Requirements

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, California Rooftop Mounted PV Systems Must Be Rated Based on New Fire Rating Requirements

TÜV Rheinland offers the UL 1703 testing and certification services to manufacturers of building integrated photovoltaic modules (BiPV), rack-mounted photovoltaic (PV) modules and mounting systems in conjunction with the 2014 revision of the standard, which introduces new PV module fire type classification and system rating tests.

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, rooftop mounted systems in California shall be tested, listed and identified with a fire rating in accordance with UL 1703. Fire testing requirements in UL 1703:2014 have changed dramatically, based primarily on the research of the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) into how the presence of PV arrays may affect the fire class rating of common roof covering materials.

The major changes to fire rating testing include the following:

  • Per UL Subject 2703, rack mounting systems for flat-plate PV modules and panels that are both roof-integrated and freestanding will need to comply with the fire resistance requirements per UL 1703.
  • Per UL 1703, section 16, modules intended for installation integral with parts of the building’s roof, for e.g. BiPV, shall be evaluated according to the UL 790 Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings.
  • Per UL 1703, section 31.1, the fire performance characteristics of modules will need to be tested independently of roof coverings based on a specific module type (defined according to the module’s construction characteristics).
  • Per UL 1703, section 31.2, the system fire class rating of modules with mounting systems will need to be tested in combination with roof coverings.

TÜV Rheinland has a state-of-the-art fire test laboratory in Tempe, Ariz., with full capability to test PV modules, PV systems and mounting racks to the requirements of the UL 1703, UL Subject 2703 and UL 790 standards.

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