We’ve always been fascinated by the poster sections of trade shows. When we heard that UL (Underwriters Laboratories) was presenting four posters at SPI, we asked them to share what you could have learned if you’d had the chance to attend them all:
BoS Is No BS — You Must Install Them Properly
The recent proliferation of solar installations across the U.S. means balance-of-systems (BoS) components (everything other than the panels and inverters) are coming under wider scrutiny during risk-mitigation inspections. Poorly functioning BoS parts have less-obvious — but equally detrimental — effects on system performance.
In this poster, UL identified common problems caused by poorly installed BoS components and the effects they have on plant availability and yield.
Inverter Certification Standards Must Change To Meet New Demands
Change comes quickly in all equipment segments of the U.S. PV industry, and nowhere is this more clear than in inverters. The demands placed on these vital PV array nerve centers were unimaginable even five years ago.
But those increased demands have put immense pressure on testing organizations like UL (Underwriters Laboratories) to keep pace with these changes to ensure the inverter is safe involved and can be easily integrated into the grid.
UL recently published in July the new US standard ANSI/UL 62109-1 — “Safety of power converters for use in photovoltaic power systems.” This standard is integrated with the international IEC 62109 standard that established the foundation for globally transportable PV inverter safety certifications.
This poster discussed the new certification and standardizations that meet these rapidly changing needs.
The Lowdown On LCOE
In recent years several thousand global photovoltaic installations were built, with the 100GWp milestone reached in 2013. Nominal power (kWp) is important to sell photovoltaic power, but the nominal watts peak value is not as important as produced energy. The single most important figure for installations is the yearly energy production (generally reported in kWh).
There are a number of technical values that may be used to describe a PV plant, but misusing them can lead to surprises, disappointment and significant practical problems. Understanding the proper role of the different technical values is critical.
Living In Harmony: How To Keep Panels Safe Around The World
By Christopher Flueckiger and Kenneth P. Boyce, Principal Engineers at UL
IEC 61730-1 and IEC 61730-2, which set international standards for panel safety, were published a decade ago. In the United States, ANSI/UL 1703 was first published in 1986 (almost the last time the Kansas City Royals made the World Series), although it has been updated frequently (most recently in May).
This poster explored the current standards (both internationally and in the United States) and what steps are being taken to establish one universal standard which would, we believe, bring down the installed costs of solar worldwide.
The full papers will be posted on the UL website soon. When they are, we will link from them here.