Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety science company, announced that it has established a test service facility in India for solar inverter manufacturers.
According to its press release, UL has expanded its Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) recognized testing facility in Bengaluru to help manufacturers meet standards mandated by the Department of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
According to MNRE's quality control regulation, solar PV inverters must have their products tested by a laboratory recognized by the BIZ.
In August 2019, the MNRE approved the series guidelines for grouping solar inverters. These guidelines concerned the implementation of tests in laboratories to implement the quality control regulation introduced in 2017. According to the guidelines, manufacturers must make a statement about the series of their products while submitting the samples of a particular series for testing.
UL's new testing services are now available for commercial, industrial and residential application projects at the company's Bengaluru facility, according to a press release. The laboratory can test solar PV inverters with an output of up to 50 kW with two independent test setups, one for low power ratings up to 10 kW and the other for high power ratings up to 50 kW.
According to UL's press release, the Bengaluru test facility is accredited by the National Accreditation Agency for Test and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). It is also recognized by the BIS to conduct tests on solar PV inverters.
Last year UL announced the launch of its first mobile solar PV test laboratory in New Delhi. The task of the laboratory was to identify, evaluate and replace modules directly at the location of the solar project. This could help solar project owners and operators take advantage of production and reduce downtime at the project site, the company said.
Inverter manufacturers need to be clear about the ambiguous BIS certification process. Laboratory unavailability, shortage of testing facilities and manpower, unreasonable testing costs, lack of production guidelines, and confusion about MNRE notifications were some of the issues that resulted in order compliance for "Ordering Solar Photovoltaic Systems, Devices and Component Goods" 2017 ”extremely difficult. In several interviews with inverter suppliers, Mercom found that the cost of BIS certification, in addition to the time-consuming process, is also a cause for concern for the inverter suppliers.
In April 2020, the MNRE published draft guidelines for standards relating to the technical specification for grid-connected inverters. The ministry introduced relevant standards for safety, efficiency, environmental and island prevention measures for PV inverters connected to utility lines.
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