World's most advanced solar testing and certification facility created for global market by private and public solar labs

New global-reach state-of-the-art venture to be launched with international invitation-only events featuring company, government, and solar industry dignitaries — stay tuned for details

PHOENIX/TEMPE, Ariz.; NEWTOWN, Conn.; YOKOHAMA, Japan; COLOGNE, Germany; SHANGHAI, China – TUV Rheinland Group has joined forces with Arizona State University (ASU) to create TUV Rheinland PTL, LLC, the most comprehensive, sophisticated, state-of-the-art facility for testing and certification of solar energy equipment in the world.

This unique collaboration—a private venture—will be based in Tempe, Arizona, USA. It combines the powerful reputation, technological sophistication, management expertise and international reach of TUV Rheinland—the global leader in independent testing and assessment services—with Arizona State University’s more than 50 years of research on solar energy and extensive solar testing know-how. ASU’s Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (PTL), established in 1992, has long been the only lab in the United States accredited for photovoltaic (PV) design qualification and type approval. ASU's legal involvement in this venture was made possible by Arizona Technology Enterprises and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Commercial PTL Ventures, Inc.

TUV Rheinland’s collaboration will connect ASU’s PTL facility to the company’s global network. The new company substantially expands PTL’s testing capabilities in both volume and scope by adding absolutely state-of-the-art test equipment and the capacity to test and certify PV panels and electrical components for Europe, Asia, and North America. PTL, in turn, provides TUV Rheinland with its university knowledge base, immediate entry to the U.S. solar testing market, and the lab’s long experience testing PV panels in both simulated and real outdoor environments. Central Arizona receives an average of 325 days of sunshine annually.

Further leveraging the industry impact of TUV Rheinland PTL, LLC is a collaboration between the new company and Arizona’s largest electric provider, Arizona Public Service (APS). The utility will provide 5 acres of outdoor testing space at its renowned Solar Test and Research (STAR) Center for use by the venture to conduct outdoor endurance testing.

The STAR Center, a pioneering facility among U.S. public utilities, was established in 1985. It has earned an international reputation as a leader in the commercial development and proof of operation for emerging solar energy technologies including Dish-Stirling arrays, high concentration PV systems, and innovative solar tracking systems.

TUV Rheinland will be the principal investor in the new company and will develop a new facility near ASU’s Tempe campus equipped with the latest, most advanced test technologies and equipment in the world.

"We are excited to participate in this globally significant joint venture,” said Stephan Schmitt,
President & CEO of TUV Rheinland North America Holding, Inc. “The potent combination of business, university, and utility solar test assets will enable TUV Rheinland PTL, LLC to be the first in the world to offer full-scale PV testing and certification across the entire component chain of photovoltaic systems. By adding this unique new capacity in the U.S. to TUV Rheinland’s existing PV laboratories in Europe and Asia we are establishing a laboratory network that will deliver unprecedented service to the crucially important and rapidly growing solar industry."

In addition to the venture’s worldwide implications, the new testing facility is expected to produce local economic impacts by attracting solar energy manufacturers and entrepreneurs to Arizona, boosting the state’s solar energy credentials, and increasing employment in the solar energy industry.

“This innovative public–private collaboration in state-of-the-art solar energy technologies, research, and test facilities, makes Arizona the best place to be for solar energy,” said Michael Crow, President of ASU. “Joining the business acumen of a top international testing firm with the capabilities of a major research university and the knowledge created by APS’ leadership on solar energy is a strategic move that will have significant payoffs for renewable energy users world wide and for the world’s climate.”

"From our plans to build Solana, one of the world's largest solar power plants, to making solar roof-top systems more affordable for customers, APS is dedicated to making Arizona the solar capital of the world," said Bill Post, Chairman of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. "The work to be done at the STAR Center by ASU and TUV Rheinland will help Arizona achieve that goal and will create long-term value for our customers, our state and our industry."

The unusual new joint venture was assembled and coordinated with the help of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, which oversees sustainability initiatives in research, education and application at the university. Expansion of the solar energy industry and the use of solar energy is an economic priority of Arizona and its governor, Janet Napolitano, and also Science Foundation Arizona.

“Science Foundation Arizona was established to invest in purpose-driven research and innovation that advances the growth of Arizona's knowledge economy. This world-class collaboration between TUV Rheinland and ASU is a perfect example of how research can lead to economic activity and yield benefits and opportunities,” said William Harris, President and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona and former Director of Science Foundation Ireland.

“In a time of declining oil supplies, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and growing demand for clean renewable energy worldwide, this joint venture will blend the strengths of two of the world’s leading test and certification organizations and a major U.S. public utility to create the most respected, sophisticated, and efficient place for manufacturers to assure their solar energy products meet international standards before going to market,” said Jon Fink, the Julie Ann Wrigley Director of the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Kick-off of TUV Rheinland PTL, LLC will culminate in mid-November with a series of significant global events.

See us at the Solar Power International Conference in San Diego, California: visit the Photovoltaic Testing Lab in Booth 1442.

About TÜV Rheinland®

TÜV Rheinland is the world leader in independent testing and assessment services. The $1.5 billion-corporation is comprised of an international network of more than 12,500 employees at over 360 locations in 62 countries and serves most industry sectors and markets worldwide. TÜV Rheinland is a member of the Global Compact of the United Nations, a global network of companies and interest groups involved in the world’s largest voluntary corporate social responsibility initiative. For more information visit:

About ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability

The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the US, offers integrated degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. ASU has a vision to be a New American University, blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines, promoting excellence among its students and faculty, conducting cutting-edge interdisciplinary research inspired by real world application, and leveraging its competitive advantage through strategic global engagement. For more information visit:

About ASU Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory

ASU’s Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory was established in 1992 to develop criteria for solar PV certification and, later, testing equipment. Since 1997, PTL has issued more than 250 qualification certificates and tested more than 2,500 solar modules for more than 150 companies representing 18 countries. The lab is the first accredited PV qualification testing laboratory in the U.S. and one of only a few in the world. It is part of ASU’s Solar Initiative, which brings together ASU expertise and facilities on numerous aspects of solar energy research and development. For more information visit:

About APS and the STAR Center

APS is a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, a Phoenix-based company with consolidated assets of about $11.5 billion. Through its subsidiaries, Pinnacle West generates, sells, and delivers electricity and sells energy-related products and services to retail and wholesale customers in the western United States. The STAR Center is APS’s 33 acre outdoor testing facility situated on the grounds of a working power plant where solar energy technologies can be monitored for reliability and longevity over a period of decades while providing electricity to the local community.

Media Contacts:

Karen Leland
Director, Communications/Marketing
Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University, USA
[email protected]

Virginia Palmer-Skok
Marketing Manager
TUV Rheinland of North America
[email protected]

Steven Gotfried
Arizona Public Service
External Communications- Media Relations
[email protected]
602-250-3040 Office
602-568-5067 Cell