Solar BoS Components / Equipment’s, Its significance & Specified Quality Standards for Solar PV Power Plant !

Recently in past 15 days, the world has witnessed curious moments in Gujarat as far as the Solar Energy Industry is concerned here. A lot has happened over these days in Gujarat viz. :

  • Gujarat CM inaugurating 600+ MW of Utility Scale Solar Power Plants across 11 districts including a 214MW Solar Power Park (Charanka), the largest such generation centre at a single location in Asia.
  • Organizing “India Solar Investment & Technology Summit 2012” at “Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar on 20-21st April’12”. I too attended the event and got very good responses from the project developers who wanted to foray into the Solar Projects Phast III of Gujarat Solar Policy (Yet to be announced).  There was  huge anticipation among everyone across, on both the days regarding the new announcement of Phase III of Gujarat Solar Policy, which didn’t happen.
  • Also, Azure Power announced a 2.5 MW Roof Top project in Gandhinagar. Already two companies SunEdison and Azure have won 2.5 MW Roof top project each to be installed on Govt. & Private buildings (80 : 20 ratio ) in Gandhinagar through the Gandhinagar Roof top Photovoltaic program.
  • One striking development is that the Gujarat CM will on 24th April’12 inaugurate the first of a series of the project, known as Canal Solar Power Project, where he would  launches a 1 megawatt (mw) pilot project, which is already commissioned, on Narmada branch canal near Chandrasan village of Kadi taluka in Mehsana district on Tuesday. This pilot project has been developed on a 750-m stretch of the canal by Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) with support from Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), which owns and maintains the canal network. The cost for the same has been estimated of around 15 crore per MW ( Note: No official data available as far as the cost of the project is concerned).

As per reports Gujarat, which invests nearly Rs 2,000 crore an year on renewable energy, has attracted investments of around  Rs 9,000 crores so far on solar energy projects.

All this projects ( Utility Scale ) have been installed and commissioned and have been appreciated by everyone across the world as of now. However the real phase starts now. The quality of equipment’s used / BOS components along with the PV Modules will now have to face scorching tests and exams to prove themselves over a period of 25 long years ! Lets see who all emerges as the Winners and sets a benchmark for upcoming solar projects in Guajrat….

Not to be mentioned that Balance of system (BoS) i.e all the components of a solar power plant excluding the PV modules can be clubbed together as BoS,  is a crucial part of a solar pv plant contributing to a vast portion to the total cost of a power plant and are responsible for the majority of problems encountered in the operating phase of the plant. This is because project developers tend to focus more on the quality and source of modules, to reduce the costs while BoS takes a back seat.  Majorly as I have observed all the BoS components are procured at later stage without much deliberation on their specs. , safety, quality etc.

To cut short I would say in order to ensure a high level of performance and to minimise risks, BoS equipment must be compliant with several standards (IEC / BIS equivalent ) depending on the location of projects and types of equipment’s to be used during the construction of plant.

Below I have mentioned some of the Indicative standards for BoS & for the modules,  for Off grid / Stand Alone & Utility scale Solar Power plants which must be followed by every EPC player in Indian Industry in order to justify the quality of their plants.

MINIMAL TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS /  STANDARDS OF THE EQUIPMENTS / COMPONENTS USED IN SPV POWER PLANTS  ( Grid Connected / Off Grid / Stand Alone)

Sr. No.   Equipments Standard (Applicable IEC/equivalent BIS Standard) Standard Description
1

PV Modules

Crystalline Silicon Terrestrial PV Modules IEC 61215 / IS 14268 Design Qualification and Type approval
2 Thin Film Terrestrial PV Modules IEC 61646
3 Concentrator PV Modules & Assemblies IEC 62108
4 IEC 61730 – 1 PV Module saftey qualification (construction)
5 IEC 61730 – 2 PV Module saftey qualification (Testing)
6 IEC 61701 Salt mist corrosion test for PV Modules
7 Power Conditioners / Inverters IEC 61683, IEC 60068 2 (6,21,27,3,75,78) Efficiency Measurements, Environmental Testing
8 Charge Controllers / MPPT Units IEC 62093,  IEC 60068 2 (6,21,27,3,75,78) Design Qualification, Environmental Testing
9 Storage Batteries IEC 61427, IS 1651 / IS 133369 General requirements & Methods of Test Tubular Lead Acid
10 Cables IEC 60189, IS 694 / IS 1554, IS/IEC 69947 General Tests and Measuring Methods PVC Insulated Cables for working Voltages up to and including 1100 V-Do-, UV resistant for outdoor installations
11 Switches / Circuit Breakers / Connectors IS/IEC 60947 part I, II, III         EN 50521 General Requirements Connectors Safety
12 Junction Boxes / Enclosures IP 65 (FOR OUTDOOR) /           IP 21 (FOR INDOOR),              IEC 62208 General Requirements
13 SPV System Design IEC 62124 PV Standalone system Design verificaiton
14 Installation Practices IEC 60364 – 7 – 712 Electrical Installations of Building Requirements for SPV Power Supply systems


Also below is the data for the standards of equipment’s to be used in a Utility Scale PV Plant. 

Source : TUV Rheinland and the International Finance Corporation’s guidebook on Utility Scale Power Plants

INDICATIVE STANDARDS FOR EQUIPMENT USED IN PV PLANT (FOR UTILITY SCALE POWER PLANTS)
Standard Description
DIN VDE 0126 Automatic disconnection device between a grid-parallel power generating system and a public low voltage grid
IEC 61683 Inverter efficiency measurement
IEC 60664 Insulation coordination for equipment within low-voltage systems
IEC 60364 – 7 – 712 Electrical installations of buildings; requirements for special installations or locations; and solar PV power supply systems
EN 50110 – 1 : 2004 Operation of electrical installations
IEC 6000 – 3 – 2 : 2005 Electromagnetic compatibility limits for harmonic current emissions
EN 50178: 1997 Electronic equipment for use in power installations
EN 61727: 1995 PV systems charactreistics of the utility interface
IEC 60364 – 4 – 41 Low-voltage electrical installations; protection for safety; and protection against electric shock
IEC 60364 – 4 – 443 Electric installations of buildings; and protection against overvoltages of atmospheric origin or due to switching
IEC 60364 – 5 – 52 : 2001 Selection and erection of electrical equipment and wiring systems
IEC 60364 -6 Draft Low voltage electrical installation tests
IEC 64 / 1123 / CD Draft Requirements for special installations or locations for PV power supply systems
IEC / EN 61140 : 2002 Protection against electric shock
EN 62305 -4: 2005 Protection against lightning
EN 55022:2006 Information technology equipment; radio disturbance characteristics; and limits and methods of measurement
Source : TUV Rheinland and the International Finance Corporation’s guidebook on Utility Scale Power Plants

Note : Some of the data mentioned above is compiled with the help of various sources and the author do not take any responsibility regarding the correctness of the data. If there are any corrections / suggestions regarding the same then please feel free to contact me anytime at urvish08@gmail.com

Therefore, to ensure smooth operation of a PV Plant over its lifetime, the Developer along with the EPC company must strictly and willingly follow the above mentioned standard’s and not just focus on minimizing the costs wherever possible !

Till then as the Gujarat CM says “Its a matter of Pride that Gujarat contributes 66 % of nation’s total solar power generation.”

Cheers ….

www.urvishdave.com

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About Urvish Dave

Urvish Dave is working as a Project Consultant in the Renewable Energy Arena with an expertise and keen focus on Solar Energy Sector viz. Rural Electrification, Off-Grid Solar Projects, Grid connected, Captive power plants, Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) Mechanism etc. for various Renewable Projects in India along with market intelligence pertaining to renewable energy sector. He holds the distinction of executing numerous Solar projects during the career path including EPC projects for Rural Electrification, Solar Grid Connected Projects, Off-Grid Projects etc. For Consultation and Turnkey Solutions in Renewable Energy Projects and energy efficient product's, visit www.urvishdave.com or write him at info@urvishdave.com
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2 Responses to Solar BoS Components / Equipment’s, Its significance & Specified Quality Standards for Solar PV Power Plant !

  1. Is there any information on performance of First Solar modules? This is of interest especially after their announcement on the performance in hot regions of the world…please let know

  2. Urvish Dave says:

    Dear Bharat ji, It certainly is of interest to lot of people. I yet need to gather the reliable data on the same. Will keep you posted the exact details. Thanks

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