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|
|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)|
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”