TÜV SÜD’s experts have developed a new comprehensive test and certification program to certify solar kits and PV power generating units. This new scheme will allow solar kit manufacturers to verify their products, and comply with international standards.
The TÜV SÜD certification scheme represents a milestone in the solar industry, since it is specifically designed and aimed to address a variety of quality as well as safety related issues associated to PV sub-assemblies. This will signify enhance safety and reliability of solar kits and PV power generating units in their actual application. Behind the development of this certification is TÜV SÜD’s Senior Product Specialists Alexander Krenz and Zhao Kai, as well as a test program in close cooperation with Symtech Solar’s cofounders, Geof Moser and Juan Castanon.
As for the main tests, they cover the entire functionality and compatibility of the systems with their key components, which are: PV modules, inverters, mounting systems, DC Disconnects, PV wiring, connectors and safety labeling. As a standard, each sub-component has been individually certified by TUV SÜD or equivalent certification agency prior to its inclusion in the new kit certification. Furthermore, each system has been verified for design and technical documentation, and includes production monitoring at the factory level. Production monitoring includes annual on-site inspections.
So how will this certification impact the solar industry exactly? Well, to start with, enhanced quality standards for solar kits will increase the protection of installers and system operators from potential risks that may occur from non-compliant design and solar system component selection. It will also ensure better functionality and performance for the life of the PV system for years to come.
This new milestone of establishing a certification for PV system providers will initiate a trend towards continuously improving the safety criteria for PV system design and electrical installations throughout the industry. The current certification scheme will primarily follow the IEC 60364-1, IEC 60364-7-712 and will summarize all solar system certified components under IEC 61215, IEC 61730, IEC 62109-1, IEC 62109-2, PPP59029A, IEC 62446-1, EN 60947-3, EN 50618, EN 50521and other relevant standards.
IEC 60364-1 provides the rules for the design, erection, and verification of electrical installations conducting to provide safety of persons, livestock and property against dangers and damage, which may arise in the reasonable use of electrical installations, and to provide for the proper functioning of those installations. IEC 60364-1 applies to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations such as those of residential, commercial, public, and industrial premises (other inclusions apply) up to 1000VAC and 1500VDC.
IEC 60364-7-712 is part of IEC 60364 applies to the electrical installation of PV systems intended to supply all or part of an installation. The equipment of a PV installation, like any other item of equipment, is dealt with only so far as its selection and application in the installation is concerned. The object of this document is to address the design safety requirements arising from the particular characteristics of PV installations. DC systems and PV arrays in particular, pose some hazards in addition to those derived from conventional AC power installations, including the ability to produce and sustain electrical arcs with currents that are not greater than normal operating currents.
IEC 61215 covers the parameters which are responsible for the ageing of PV modules including UV, temperature, humidity, and mechanical loads.
IEC 61730 safety qualifications covers multiple parts including the design and construction requirements for the PV modules and application & safety class qualifications.
IEC 62109-1 and IEC 62109-2 covers the particular safety requirements relevant to DC. to AC. inverter products as well as products that have or perform inverter functions in addition to other functions, where the inverter is intended for use in photovoltaic power systems.
PPP 59029A testing covers mounting systems stability for various environmental conditions (heat, cold, dry, wet, etc.) and testing for corrosion resistance and long-term durability performance (endurance testing with outdoor field conditions, temperature change examination and moisture-heat examination).
IEC 62446-1 defines the information and documentation required to be handed over to a customer following the installation of a grid connected PV system. It also describes the commissioning tests, inspection criteria and documentation expected to verify the safe installation and correct operation of the system. It is for use by system designers and installers of grid connected solar PV systems as a template to provide effective documentation to a customer.
EN 60947-3 applies to switches, disconnects and fuse-combination units to be used in distribution circuits of which the rated voltage does not exceed 1000VAC or 1500VDC.
EN 50618 is a European Standard that applies to low smoke halogen-free, flexible, single-core power cables with cross-linked insulation and sheath. In particular for use at the direct current DC side of photovoltaic systems, with a nominal DC voltage of 1500VDC between conductors and between conductor and earth. Such cables are designed to be used with Class II equipment.
EN 50521 is applicable to Class A connectors (EN 61730-1) for photovoltaic systems with rated voltages up to 1500 VDC and rated currents up to 125 A per contact.
Symtech Solar Group is an American renewable energy company that has pioneered the upstream PV system integration process from its factory platform in China. Headquartered in Shanghai, China, Symtech Solar offers more than seven different solar energy product lines designed for the residential, commercial and rural markets, as well as providing customized, flexible PV solutions. The new cortication scheme will cover the Apollo and Atlas PV kits with more than 850 configurations and power outputs.