Arizona State University, Arizona Public Service and an international solar company are merging their resources to create a new solar-testing joint venture in Tempe.
The creation of the new testing team is expected to attract solar-oriented companies and scientific research to the Valley from throughout the world, according to spokesmen for the three agencies.
The new business is being formed by TUV Rheinland Group, a $1.5 billion corporation based in Germany, and ASU’s Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory. TUV Rheinland Group, which has more than 12,500 employees and facilities in more than 62 countries, primarily tests and certifies solar-energy equipment.
ASU’s Photovoltaic Testing Lab has issued more than 250 qualification certificates and tested more than 2,500 solar modules since 1997.
Photovoltaic modules convert sunlight directly into electric current.
The partners will form a new company called TUV Rheinland PTL LLC, which will establish a photovoltaic testing facility in a 40,000-square foot building in a business park on Roosevelt Street south of Broadway in Tempe.
“The building is ideally near the ASU Tempe campus and Sky Harbor International Airport,” said Rob Melnick, executive director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.
ASU will provide the venture with more than 20 years of technical knowledge in solar testing, particularly for complex devices, said Melnick.
The partnership will expand ASU’s ability to test solar devices to include safety certification, he said. Previously ASU could only test solar equipment for performance, and safety testing will broaden the market and attract business from all over the world, Melnick said.
APS will provide five acres of outdoor testing space at the utility’s Solar Test and Research (STAR) Center at McClintock and University Drive, Tempe.
TUV Rheinland will be the principal investor in the new company.
“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 photovoltaic testing and certification,” said Stephan Schmitt, president and CEO of TUV Rheinland North American Holding.