Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator™?
The use of traditional flash systems in testing PV modules is limited because modules are only illuminated with a very short pulse of up to 10ms. The SLP technology of Spire Solar enables customers to test current and new PV module technologies that require a longer illumination time because of their response time (PERC, HJT) up to 200ms. Furthermore a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator™ has an A+ spectrum and A+ stability. Spire Solar has a long history in the PV testing industry and Spi-Sun Simulators are used by more than 30 standards testing laboratories worldwide.
What is the general spectral match of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator™?
The spectral match of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator is class A or better. The 5600SLP Blue has a spectral match better than A+.
What is the general non-uniformity of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator™?
The non-uniformity of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator is class A or better according to IEC-60904-9. The non-uniformity of a 5600SLP Blue is +/- 0.72% (with a resolution of 25 pixel/m^2).
What is the general (in)stability of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator™?
The SLP technology enables a single long pulse of over 100ms. The 5600SLP Blue has a pulse of over 150ms.
What is the general measurement repeatability of a Spire Solar Spi-Sun Simulator™?
Repeatability is better than the IEC-60904-9, the 5600SLP Blue model currently has a repeatability of +/- 0.10% repeatability.
Can we compare the test results of PV modules with other institutes that have different solar simulators?
Our solar simulator is designed to test according to the IEC 61215:2016 standard for PV module qualification. Therefore, results of standard test procedures with our equipment, such as “Performance at STC” (IEC 61215 nr. 10.6), can be compared perfectly with other institutions. Our Spi-Sun Simulators are used by more than 30 standards testing laboratories worldwide.
How do we operate the simulator?
The solar simulator itself is a turnkey system. By turning on the main switch, by default the solar simulator will set itself to STC illumination (1000 W/m^2). For other test procedures, a PC can be connected to the solar simulator computer or optional PLC by USB/ethernet to load other illumination settings or profiles. I-V measurement equipment is operated from an Windows PC with user friendly interfaced software.
What is the required equipment operating environment?
The room needs to be kept in Standard Test Conditions (STC, 25 °C) and low dust levels. The air conditioning system we advise depends on the heat load of the simulator and the room size. The walls ideally have low light reflection.
How much space is required for the equipment?
The space required for the test setup is the system dimensions + at least 0.5 m around for operation and maintenance.
What are the options to integrate the solar simulator into other test setups or equipment?
Because of its compact lay-out, the Spi-Sun simulators can be integrated in other test setups or equipment easily. The sun simulator is integrated into PV production lines to check the performance of PV modules at high testing speeds.
Can we change lamps ourselves?
Yes, the sun simulator lamps can be replaced by yourself with a simple click-in click-out operation. Lamps are part of our Spare Parts Program.
When is maintenance required?
Maintenance and calibration can be done annually. The illuminated test surface is re-calibrated, components are checked, filters replaced and the system is cleaned.
How will service calls be handled?
Service calls will be handled according to our standard certified customer support procedures. Depending on the service level agreement of the annual maintenance contract, certain response times are guaranteed.
Do you provide training?
Yes, after the installation and acceptance test on-site we provide a training on operating the equipment and on maintenance. We also provide different training courses on solar testing at our facilities. Please contact us to discuss possibilities.
Can you provide more information on Spire Solar?
Spire Solar is a secure, thriving business entirely owned and operated by Eternal Sun Group. It was spun out from Spire Corporation early in 2016 and continues to serve its customers across the world from its offices in America, Europe and Asia. Eternal Sun is a Dutch company who, after pioneering a new method of solar simulation using continuous light technology, purchased Spire Solar earlier in 2016 which operates as a division of Eternal Sun, offering flash testing technology.