The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued draft guidelines for series approval (grouping) of solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters to conduct testing in labs for Implementation of “Quality Control Order on Solar PV Systems, Devices and Components Goods 2017.”

As the inverters are of varying sizes, ratings and type the inverters in each category are to be grouped for submitting samples to test labs and will be granted series approval for products based on testing of representatives’ models.

Comments on these draft regulations can be made up to April 19, 2019. These guidelines are applicable for solar PV based off-grid, grid-tied and hybrid inverters of capacities up to 150 kW.

These draft guidelines are similar to the performance testing of batteries which was also simultaneously announced.

Testing guidelines have been already issued for inverters and batteries under the ambit of the Solar Photovoltaics, Systems, Devices, and Component Goods (Requirement for Compulsory Registration under the BIS Act Order 2017) which was implemented on April 16, 2018. This draft guideline is specific to testing approval of ‘series’ of products instead of approving each product model individually. This was a sticking point as there was no clarity when the original order was issued, and manufacturers complained that getting approval for individual models was expensive, cumbersome and caused delays.

In this instance, the MNRE has listened to industry concerns and addressed them promptly. This will hopefully make it easier for both battery and inverter manufacturers to get testing done quickly and efficiently.

MNRE Issues Draft Guidelines for Grouping Solar PV Inverters for Testing in Labs

Manufacturers will have to submit a declaration about the series of their product while providing samples to labs. Out of the entire range of models intended to be covered under registration, the highest rated model will be tested to cover the entire range of family.

The lab will be required to charge the cost of testing only for the highest rated Inverter size model and test reports can be issued to all such sets with lower wattage. A product label of each series model will be placed in the test report. If there is a change in construction, material or components in the family, then the product will need to be submitted to the labs for new testing.

If the cabinet design architecture is changing between various models in the family (keeping the same Internal Hardware like PCB layout between various models in the family), then all the different cabinet designs are to be tested or verified for ‘Ingress Protection.’ The verification can be done either by testing it at a National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) approved laboratories, or test reports have to be submitted from ISO/IEC 17025/ILAC accredited laboratories.

(ISO- International Organization for Standardization, IEC – International Electrotechnical Commission, ILAC International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation)

Mercom recently released the India Solar Market Leaderboard 2019 report that reveals the market leaders in the Indian the solar industry. According to the report, central inverters accounted for approximately 70% of total shipments and ABB emerged as the top central inverter supplier for 2018, while Huawei was the top string inverter supplier.

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.