SunSpec Alliance Establishes the Official SunSpec Testing & Certification Program via Partnership with TÜV Rheinland

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TÜV Rheinland of North America Joins the SunSpec Alliance; Will Manage Third Party Testing & Certification for Solar & Renewable Energy Manufacturers

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One of the primary factors slowing the deployment of the Smart Grid is the lack of interoperable, standards-based renewable energy products on the market.

The SunSpec Alliance, an industry coalition formed to establish global interoperability among renewable energy system components and management systems, today announced the formation of its official SunSpec Testing & Certification program via a partnership with TÜV Rheinland of North America, a worldwide leader in premier independent testing, certification and assessment services. This partnership will enable the SunSpec Alliance to provide valuable third-party testing and certification services to its members, and will help advance the solar and renewable energy industries by ensuring the compliance and interoperability of critical Smart Grid components.

As part of the partnership, TÜV Rheinland has joined the SunSpec Alliance and will work with the SunSpec Alliance to develop testing protocols and procedures. To ensure the integrity of the tests, TÜV Rheinland will manage the administration of these tests for the products of all participating SunSpec Alliance members. TÜV Rheinland will then grade and track the test compliance of all third-party products, and will report the compliance status to the SunSpec Alliance. The SunSpec Alliance itself will generate and deliver formal compliance certificates to all manufacturers whose products achieve compliance.

“The SunSpec Alliance has made great strides in enabling the more efficient and economical rollout of the Smart Grid by developing standards that all renewable energy manufacturers can adhere to,” said Matthias Heinze, Global Business Field Manager, Solar/Fuel Cells at TÜV Rheinland. “We are excited to lend our testing and certification expertise to the further advancement of this industry by helping to ensure the compliance of renewable energy products with the SunSpec standards. Together, TÜV Rheinland and SunSpec will help speed the selection and rollout of Smart Grid technologies by providing the assurance of interoperability.”

The SunSpec Alliance has worked to develop specifications for many different components of the Smart Grid – including solar inverters, meters, and environmental sensors – all of which are freely available for downloading at http://www.sunspec.org/specifications/. To accomplish this, the SunSpec Alliance has worked closely with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the ZigBee Alliance to leverage existing standards and cooperate with other standards bodies. TÜV Rheinland is also an established partner with many existing standards bodies, and will leverage their experience and expertise to provide standards certification to SunSpec Alliance members.

“One of the primary factors slowing the deployment of the Smart Grid is the lack of interoperable, standards-based renewable energy products on the market. Rather than forcing Smart Grid providers to independently test all components themselves, the SunSpec Alliance and TÜV Rheinland will eliminate that roadblock and provide an independently-managed, third-party testing program,” said Tom Tansy, chairman of the SunSpec Alliance. “In doing so, we aim to provide Smart Grid providers with the assurance and peace of mind they need to roll out Smart Grid projects more aggressively, knowing in advance that the products they select have already been certified to work together to deliver efficient, cost-effective Smart Grid services to their customers.”

SunSpec Testing & Certification will be available to all SunSpec Alliance members beginning in January 2011. To learn more or to speak with representatives from the SunSpec Alliance or TÜV Rheinland, please visit us at Solar Power International 2010 – SunSpec is located in booth #1074 in the West Hall, and TÜV Rheinland is located in booth #2601 in Hall K of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

To join the SunSpec Alliance, please visit http://www.sunspec.org/join/.

About TÜV Rheinland®
TÜV Rheinland® is the worldwide leader in market access, helping businesses gain international approvals in more than 200 countries. The company delivers premier independent certification, testing, and assessment services for many industry sectors. TÜV Rheinland eases the path to compliance with technical expertise, cost-effective pricing and quick turnaround times. The $1.5 billion corporation is comprised of an international network of more than 13,300 employees in 61 countries. For more information, visit http://www.tuvptl.com.

About SunSpec Alliance
The mission of the SunSpec Alliance is to dramatically accelerate the growth of the renewable energy market worldwide by standardizing data interfaces of energy system components. The SunSpec Alliance achieves its mission by defining open interface standards for renewable energy system components, thus enabling renewable energy systems to interact with information technology systems in a predictable and reliable manner. Membership in the SunSpec Alliance is open to corporations, non-profits, and individuals. For more information on the SunSpec Alliance charter and membership, please go to: http://www.sunspec.org.

Press Contacts:
Robb Henshaw
Henshaw Communications for SunSpec Alliance
robbhenshaw(at)gmail(dot)com
925-640-7321

Virginia Palmer-Skok
TUV Rheinland North America Group
vpalmerskok(at)us(dot)tuv(dot)com
203-426-0888 Ext.756

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