Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety science company, announced that it had launched a testing service facility for solar inverter manufacturers in India.
According to its press release, UL has expanded its Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) recognized testing service facility in Bengaluru to support manufacturers to adhere to the standards prescribed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
According to MNRE’s quality control order, solar PV inverters are required to have their products tested from a BIS recognized laboratory.
In August 2019, the MNRE had approved the series guidelines for grouping solar inverters. These guidelines were for conducting tests in laboratories for the implementation of quality control order that was introduced in 2017. As per the guidelines, the manufacturers will have to submit a declaration about the series of their products while submitting the samples of a particular series for testing.
The new testing services by UL are now accessible for commercial, industrial, and residential application projects at the company’s Bengaluru facility, according to its press statement. The laboratory can test solar PV inverters with a rating of up to 50 kW with two independent test set-ups, one is for low power ratings up to 10 kW, and the other is for high power ratings up to 50 kW.
According to UL’s press statement, The testing facility at Bengaluru is accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). It is also recognized by the BIS to conduct testing of solar PV inverters.
Last year, UL announced the launch of its first-ever mobile solar PV testing laboratory in New Delhi. The lab’s function was to identify, evaluate, and replace modules directly at the solar project site, which could help solar project owners and operators to capitalize on the production and reduce the downtime at the project site, according to the company.
Inverter manufacturers have to gain clarity regarding the ambiguous BIS certification process. The unavailability of labs, lack of testing facilities and workforce, unreasonable costs of testing, absence of series guidelines, and confusion regarding MNRE notifications were some of the issues that have made the compliance of the order “Solar Photovoltaics Systems, Devices and Component Goods Order 2017” extremely difficult. Through several interviews with inverter suppliers, Mercom found out that the cost of BIS certification is also a cause of concern for the inverter suppliers apart from the time-taking process.
In April 2020, the MNRE issued draft guidelines for standards regarding the technical specification for solar grid-tied inverters. The ministry introduced relevant standards covering safety, efficiency, environmental, and islanding prevention measures tests for utility-interconnected PV inverters.
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