World's most advanced solar testing and certification facility opens doors to global market

Celebration/Ribbon-Cutting of New Clean-Tech Venture Features Dignitaries from Business, Government, University, and Solar Industry; More Events to Follow in Cologne and Shanghai

PHOENIX/TEMPE, Ariz.; NEWTOWN, Conn.; YOKOHAMA, Japan; COLOGNE, Germany; SHANGHAI, China – TUV Rheinland Group and Arizona State University (ASU) today celebrate the much anticipated launch of TUV Rheinland PTL, LLC, the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated facility for testing and certification of solar energy equipment.

TUV Rheinland PTL, a new private venture, significantly upgrades the technology and know-how of the former ASU Photovoltaic Laboratory (PTL) and moves to a strategic location in Tempe, Arizona, USA close to both ASU and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. With a new facility and additional human resources, the lab more than doubles its previous capacity and now provides a unique one-stop source for clients to get full testing and certification for all safety and performance standards in use by the industry anywhere in the world.

The just-opened 40,000 square foot facility is staffed with the world’s most technically competent and capable solar testing team and is equipped with state-of-the-art solar simulators and temperature-humidity environments. Clients can take advantage of full system testing for all photovoltaic system components, including inverters, grid-tied electronics, controllers, motion and tracking devices, and wireless control electronics. In addition, clients can get technical direction and testing on standards for newly emerging technologies such as concentrating photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, and building-integrated photovoltaic.

This venture is the product of a farsighted collaboration between TUV Rheinland and ASU. The former ASU-PTL lab, established in 1992, was the first accredited photovoltaic qualification testing laboratory in the U.S. and one of only a few in the world. Many in the solar testing industry today have roots that connect them to ASU-PTL.

"Our facility in Tempe serves as a cornerstone of TUV Rheinland Group's strategy for a global network of photovoltaic testing and certification services," said Stephan Schmitt, president and CEO of TUV Rheinland North America Holding, Inc. "The expertise and knowledge of TUV Rheinland PTL's team combined with the brainpower of ASU's faculty and their outstanding research reputation in the field of renewable energies represents a unique opportunity for the solar industry to obtain true and highly sophisticated information and services. Together with TUV Rheinland's laboratories in Europe and Asia, TUV Rheinland PTL is able and competent to obtain and deliver global certification for the solar industry's needs."

Arizona’s largest electric provider, Arizona Public Service (APS) worked with the new venture by providing five acres of outdoor testing space at its renowned Solar Test and Research (STAR) Center for use in conducting 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 photovoltaic systems, and innovative solar tracking systems.

"APS shares in the vision of a bright solar energy future for Arizona," said Don Brandt, president and CEO of Arizona Public Service. "As more collaborative projects come to fruition, such as the one currently taking place between APS, ASU, and TUV Rheinland, Arizona will become the solar capital of the world."

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) also worked closely with TUV Rheinland and ASU in helping strengthen the university's research infrastructure leading to the commercialization of products and services that foster new industry growth.

"Science Foundation Arizona leverages the R&D capacity of industry, universities, and government to focus on innovation breakthroughs of strategic importance to Arizona's growing technology sector," said William C. Harris, president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona and former director of Science Foundation Ireland. "This new venture by TUV Rheinland builds upon ASU's solar research expertise and positions the state and ASU as a significant player in the sizable and growing alternative energy market." Harris announced that SFAz will establish an office in space provided by TUV to ensure his organization can most effectively facilitate industry and university R&D.

TUV Rheinland officials believe their new venture will become an industry leader in promoting technical advancement of the photovoltaic industry and they plan to eventually move beyond photovoltaics to include other green power technologies. This is seen as a global opportunity for the industry as well as a boon for Arizona.

"In an increasingly clean-tech, green energy world, TUV Rheinland PTL is the next generation of renewable energy testing," said Rob Melnick, executive director and COO of the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU. "Countries and businesses world-wide are investing heavily in the renewable sector to create high paying, high tech jobs all over the world, even in a weak global economy. In an age of peak oil, it’s clear the arena to be in is renewable energy, now and for the foreseeable future."

About TUV Rheinland®

TUV 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. TUV 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.

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.

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.

About Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)

With the mission of helping spur new innovation in Arizona and developing a diversified, robust knowledge-driven research and education infrastructure, SFAz, a 501 (C) (3) public/private partnership, has to date awarded $35 million in 59 innovation investments in communications technology, biomedicine, and sustainable systems including renewable energies. In just one year, these investments have demonstrated clear strategic advantages to Arizona by attracting an additional $43.8 million in outside research dollars, seeding the development of eight new companies, and fostering science, engineering, and math skills in over 20,000 students statewide.


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

Terry Koch
Science Foundation Arizona
[email protected]