Module Tests

The Laboratory of Photovoltaic Systems (LSF) linked to the Institute of Energy and Environment (IEE) from the University of São Paulo (USP) performs tests on PV modules according to the requirements of the INMETRO ORDINANCE which estimates the equipment performance under both rated and extreme operating conditions to ensure that they have a minimum quality guaranteed.

Even if the PV module has been already certified by IEC, TUV, UL, or any other standard, it is also required to perform tests in Brazil since INMETRO does not accept reports from other countries. The labeling procedures for photovoltaic systems components are specified on the 004/2011 ordinance from the INMETRO. The acceptance is granted for a particular PV module if the power measured on it falls in a range between -5% and +10% of the module’s rated power and also if it meets all the electrical insulation constraints verified on electrical insulation tests. The module’s efficiency is then evaluated using its external area and the measured power value. The INMETRO label is issued by the laboratory based on the efficiency value of the module, which may fall into five INMETRO efficiency categories (A, B, C, D, E).

In order to request a PV module certification test, the technical specification sheet (PET - modulos fotovoltaicos) and the labeling request application form must be submitted in electronic format (pdf) fully filled and signed to . The tests and sending of equipment shall be scheduled using the fotovoltaico@iee.usp.braddress.

The tests require two samples of each PV module to be certified. The supplier is responsible for the delivery of the samples to the laboratory. The testing costs of each model are R$ 3400.00. This value includes all the tests required by the INMETRO, which correspond to the 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 e 10.15 sections from the IEC 61215 (alternatively IEC 61646 for thin film modules). The costs associated with the product’s registration on the INMETRO and all the logistics necessary for the delivery and recollection of the PV modules in the laboratory are responsibilities of the company testing. After that, the IEE-USP sends a charging notice (bill) to the company.

According to the INMETRO 004/2011 ordinance, the PV modules are classified by its technology  (thin film and crystalline silicon), as shown in tables 1 and 2 below.


Table 1 – Crystalline silicon 

Efficiency classes

A > 13,5%
13% < B < 13,5%
12% < C < 13%
11% < D <12%
E < 11%


Table 2 – Thin film 

Efficiency classes

A > 9,5%
7,5% < B < 9,5%
12% < C < 13%
6,5% < C < 7,5%
5,0% < D < 6,5%