The Florida Solar Energy Center has becomes the first laboratory in the United States that is approved to offer stand-alone and grid-tied photovoltaic system design review certification.COCOA, Florida, US, 2002-01-25 [SolarAccess.com] FSEC has been accredited as a quality laboratory for testing and certifying the power rating of solar PV modules, testing and certifying stand-alone PV systems and certifying grid-tied solar systems. The recommendation for accreditation came from the PowerMark Accreditation Committee following a formal audit of FSEC in December. PowerMark Corp is the exclusive U.S. agent for the Photovoltaic Global Approval Program (PV-GAP) and the only PV testing and certification program in the U.S. that meets the requirements for international reciprocity. PMC’s certification program is based on both U.S. and international standards. The testing of PV modules will result in certifying performance at prescribed conditions, and the ratings will improve system designs. They will also provide consumers with realistic expectations of energy production and be used in determining rebates for grid-tied system installations. The testing of small packaged stand-alone PV systems will help improve performance and reliability, and help the U.S. industry compete in the international marketplace. Certification tests will be used for both performance evaluation and design verification. Grid-connected system designs must use PV modules that have been tested and the power rating certified. In addition, the design review requires that the designs must be properly documented and reviewed for compliance with the National Electrical Code, IEEE and UL standards and use of accepted design practices. In its letter recommending approval of FSEC accreditation, the PowerMark committee commented on the professionalism of FSEC staff, the high quality of facilities, the good design and execution of the laboratory quality system, and the organization and management structure. FSEC is a research institute of the University of Central Florida, and the largest state-supported energy research center in the U.S. Current research activities include PV, solar water heating and pool heating, distributed generation, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems and hydrogen fuel.