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Top Solar Environmental Standards You Should Know

MGH Solar Cover

Image courtesy of Arsenal, Vienna

In recent postings, we presented the most popular xenon-arcfluorescent UV, and outdoor weathering testing standards. Now, we introduce the most frequently used standards for environmental stress testing with metal halide light sources.

Filtered Metal Halide Global (MHG)

Metal halide global (MHG) lamps are plasma lamps. Their filling is a mixture of mercury and various rare earth elements creating a quasi-continuous spectrum, similar to global solar radiation. When equipped with a daylight filter, the spectral power distribution can be aligned to CIE 241.

Difference Between Solar Environmental Stress Test and Xenon Weathering

While solar environmental stress tests address ageing of products, those tests are substantially different compared to xenon weathering testing. The major differences are shown in the table.

MGH Table Atlas

Reference Spectrum

1. CIE 241 - Recommended reference solar spectra for industrial applications

Publication CIE 241 by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE = Commission Internationale de l'Éclairage) contains a benchmark spectrum for simulating worst-case solar irradiance in weathering instruments. In 2020, it replaced the previous version CIE 85 Table 4 which had served as weathering benchmark spectrum for 30 years.


2. DIN 75220 Ageing automobile components in solar simulation units

This DIN standard covers 12 test methods: 2 cyclic outdoor climatic tests, 4 cyclic indoor climatic tests, and 6 steady-state tests for outdoor and indoor climates. The cyclic tests are all based on practical 24 h schemes - typically repeated 10-15 times (240 – 360 h). The steady-state tests are run for 240 h. Those solar environmental stress tests are not UV-durability test. They focus on how the components perform and age under realistic environmental conditions – from desert-like to arctic frost.

There are several OEM standards, which are derived from DIN 75220, e.g., BMW PR 306.5 Solar simulation for automotive parts, and Renault 32-00-022 Solar simulation test on complete vehicles. Furthermore: VDA 230-219 Ageing automobile components in solar simulation units.


3. MIL-STD-810H, 505.7 Solar Radiation (Sunshine)

This United States Military Standard emphasizes solar radiation tests among many other stress tests. MIL-STD-810H includes two test procedures. The solar radiation test of MIL-STD-810 is a performance standard, which means you can use any solar simulation technique, which meets the requirements. Today, most users prefer MHG technology.

MGH Solarsim Chamber

Solar Environmental Testing Chamber

Photovoltaic & Solar Power

4. IEC 60904-9 ED3 Photovoltaic devices – Part 9: Classification of solar simulator characteristics

Solar simulators can be either used for performance measurements of PV devices or endurance irradiation tests. Part 9 of IEC 60904 provides the definitions of and means for determining simulator classifications for flashers (often xenon/LED) and steady-state solar simulators (often MHG), where A+ and A are the highest classes followed by B and C. Atlas MHG based steady-state solar simulators achieve class B, which is practical for all PV module testing under IEC 61215 requiring steady-state solar simulation.

MGH PV Solar Atlas

MGH Solar Simulator for Photovoltaics


5. IEC 60068-2-5 Environmental testing - Part 2-5: Tests - Test S: Simulated solar radiation at ground level and guidance for solar radiation testing and weathering

This IEC standard includes 3 solar environmental test methods (Sa 1, Sa2, Sa3) as well as two weathering tests (Sb1, Sb2; xenon) for electronic products. Sa1/Sa2/Sa3 are so called “solar heat load stress tests”. All Sa tests are typically performed in small to mid-sized MHG chambers for smaller products and inside walk-in size MHG chambers for larger or multiple products.

Atlas MGH Electronics Test Chamber

Solar Environmental Test Chamber for Electronics

Less Common Standards

While the above top 5 standards can be regarded as primary or basic standards, there are several less common standards in use. Those include defense standards DEF STAN 0035, STANAG 2895, STANAG 4370 (M. 305), and GJB 150.7A. For PV Solar and electronics, there are IEC 61730-2, EN12975-3, and Chinese GB/T 2423.24. Finally, in China the following solar stress test standards are used for vehicles and trains: GB/T 19233-2020, GB/T 40711.3-2021, and GB/T 18286.1-rev.

More Information

Check out our Standards Guide on MHG solar environmental stress tests.

For comprehensive information on weathering and lightfastness technology and applications, refer to our online library.

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