Ask an Expert

Ken Boyce

Manager, Principal Engineer, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Product Safety

What factors are driving the growth of energy storage systems?

Deployment of energy storage systems is being driven by many dynamic factors.  Energy storage helps promote better electrical grid response, stability and resiliency.  Energy storage systems also provide new options and benefits for building energy systems.  This includes capturing renewable energy as it is produced, so that it can be used when needed or when it is optimal, and providing immunity from grid outages.  Recognizing these benefits, there are many governmental policies and private initiatives that are supporting a large-scale deployment of energy storage systems.

What services does UL offer to help utilities, institutions and municipalities safeguard their use of energy storage systems?

UL offers a wide variety of services related to energy storage systems.  These include testing and certification to UL 9540, which offers an assurance that suitable requirements are used to independently validate the safety of the systems.  Field engineering services address the safety of any systems that have been installed at a site without previous suitable certification being established.  UL can evaluate compliance of microgrid systems with applicable codes and standards.  UL also offers custom training solutions related to energy storage systems, as well as custom research programs on system performance and safety.

In what ways do you see the role of solar energy changing in the U.S. and around the world over the next decade?

Solar energy continues to be a major element of our world’s renewable energy portfolio, and this will continue in the coming years.  As we see more solar products deployed, and larger scale PV installations continue to expand, making sure we leverage science to inform good and safe decisions will be critical to sustainability.  This ranges from quantifying how attractive a solar project is from financial and performance views, to addressing system durability and reliability, to managing the solar infrastructure as it ages.  We will also see technology used in new ways to enhance and expand PV systems. UL is working to support renewable energy industries, including the solar industry, in achieving the best possible transformation of our world’s energy infrastructure.

What services does UL offer to enhance the safety of PV installations?

The PV industry is rich and robust, and UL supports it with many diverse offerings.  First and foremost, UL testing and certification are the most trusted sources of establishing confidence in the market for PV modules, balance of systems equipment, inverters and other related products.

 

We offer a wide variety of testing to U.S., global and regional standards for safety, design qualification and performance. We offer market services for bankability and PV plants that provide detailed, scientifically-based analyses of critical aspects in the validation, approval and commissioning of PV systems.  UL has developed specialized solutions for PV distribution and equipment qualification.  We support safe installation of PV systems with training and certification of PV installers.  UL has even developed special training programs for first responders to help inform them about safety issues, keep them safe and support their success in carrying out their missions.  Behind the scenes, we have a dedicated team of engineers and scientists writing standards, performing research, and developing new test methods to make sure we can carry out all of these services that help enable safe and successful PV deployment.

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