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The importance of quality infrastructure across the solar value chain

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The importance of quality infrastructure across the solar value chain
 
To assure the quality of products will require going beyond the performance role of equipment. It will require the implementation of QI, which will benefit PV systems across the entire value chain. Quality requires a holistic approach. The implementation of a QA framework covers not only the equipment, but the entire system, including design, installation, operation, maintenance services and disposal. Enacting proper quality schemes, as well as incorporating international practices and stakeholder consultation can impact positively on each of the stages of the technology lifecycle. A well-developed QI is essential for the sustainable growth of solar PV. At the market level, a national QI that is aligned with international best practices assures quality and safety in the sector. Implementation of QI is effected through the deployment of the elements listed in Figure below.
 
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Implementing QI in the solar PV market benefits the entire value chain and involve all stakeholders, including governments, financiers, project developers, manufacturers, installers and end users. As indicated in the Figure, the elements of a QI, such as described above, and the relevant international institutes that relate to each element. 
 
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Standardisation There is a core group of international standards, developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and used broadly on a global scale. In addition, there are country-specific standards that exist, most of which are based on international standards. These measures cover every aspect of the PV value chain, from the system component manufacturing phase through to the end of the technology’s life. Specific examples are featured in the table.
 
These are the primary standards most often called upon for project approval or due diligence engineering on behalf of financiers. Further standards that govern manufacturing and testing equipment, sensors, measurements and others provide the QA foundation for product safety and performance. While not specific to PV installations, these standards are relevant and applicable to a variety of other sectors within the electrical industry.
 

System component manufacturing

International – PV Module

 

IEC 61730 – Photovoltaic (PV) module safety qualification

IEC 61215 – Crystalline silicon terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules – Design qualification and type approval International – Inverter

IEC 62109 – Safety of power converters for use in photovoltaic power systems

IEC 62093 – Balance-of-system components for photovoltaic systems

The USA – PV Module

 

UL 1703 – Safety of Safety for Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels

IEC 61215 – Crystaline silicon terrestial photovoltaic (PV) modules – Design qualification and type approval

IEC 61646 – Thin-film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules - Design qualifications and type approval

The USA – Inverter

 

UL 1741 – Standard for Inverters, Converters, COntrollers and Interconnection Systems Equipment for Use With Distributed Energy Resources

UL 62109 – Standard for Safety of power converters for use in photovoltaic power systems – Part 1: General requirements

* China has developed its own standards

System design and equipment selection

 

International

 

IEC 62548 – Photovoltaic (PV) arrays – Design requirements

IEC RS 62738 (Technical Specification) – Design guidelines and recommendations for ground-mounted

 photovoltaic power plants

IEC 62257 – Recommendations for small renewable energy and hybrid systems for rural electrification –

 Part 1: General Introduction to IEC 62257 series and rural electrification

IEC 62116 – Utility-interconnected photovoltaic inverters – Test procedure of islanding prevention measures

Australia

AS/NZS 4777 – Grid connection of energy systems via inverters

AS/NZS 3100 – Approval and test specification – General requirements for electrical equipment

China

GB50797-2012 – Code for design of photovoltaic power station

The USA

NEC Article 690 – Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

* Rollout of national standards for intallations and certification of installers

Installation and commissioning

International

 

IEC 62446 – Grid connected photovoltaic systems -– Minimum requirements for system documentation,commissioning tests and inspection

IEC 61724 – Photovoltaic system performance monitoring – Guidelines for measurement, data exchange and

 Analysis

The USA

ASTM E2848 - Standard Test Method for Reporting Photovoltaic Non-Concentrator System Performance

Performance and operation & maintenance (O&M)

 

 

International

IEC 61724 – Photovoltaic system performance monitoring – Guidelines for measurement, data exchange and analysis

IEC 62446-2 – Photovoltaic (PV) – Requirements for testing, documentation and maintenance

The USA

 

Standard Test Method for Reporting Photovoltaic Non-Concentrator System Performance

End Of Life

 

 

International Decommissioning and waste management options need yet to be properly addressed in international standards. Directives: like the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, are implemented awaiting transposition into national laws and standards.

 
 
 
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