Repurposing Tester Photovoltaic Panels

You might have wondered: What happens to the photovoltaic panels used for testing in the certification and licensing process? OK, maybe you didn’t wonder. Still, it’s good to learn those panels are being put to use by at least one testing outfit, TÜV Rheinland PTL, down in Arizona.

A company press release announced a new donation of 50 solar panels to the town of Chino Valley, Ariz., to be installed at the town’s water reclamation facility. TÜV Rheinland PTL said that per agreements with manufacturers, it’s been donating tested solar modules to individuals and organizations for a dozen years.

image via TUV Rheinland PTL

TÜV Rheinland PTL said more than two-thirds of solar-module manufacturers turn to them for testing to obtain national and international market licenses. The company has testing centers in Germany, China, Japan and India, as well as in Tempe, Arizona.

In recent years donations have gone to the Navajo Nation, Prescott Valley Police Department, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, town of Prescott Valley, Mesa Community College and Northern Arizona University. Modules were also donated to Yavapai College to build Habitat for Humanity’s first home with net-zero energy performance, the company added.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.