Over 12.3 million homes in the United States use solar power by the end of 2018. Because of this, property owners must understand the importance of solar PV testing. However, what exactly is this, and why is it important? Continue reading this article to get the answers that you are looking for.
What is Solar PV Testing
PV, also known as photovoltaic, refers to the system that utilizes semiconductor material to create a photovoltaic effect wherein light is converted into electrical energy. This system comes in varying sizes and formats. Those that are between 100kW and 5MW are considered medium scale, while those that are 5MW and above fall under the category of large scale.
There could be plenty of possible defects and issues during the commissioning of a solar PV system. These concerns can significantly affect the maximum output of the system. This is where solar PV testing comes in.
Solar PV testing is usually done by qualified PV engineers who have credentials as an electrician. The testing process is conducted in various stages such as during the pre-installation, during the commissioning, while the operation is ongoing, and maintenance stage.
The results of PV testing can be significantly helpful in ensuring that all stakeholders during the installation, operation, and maintenance phase of the PV system are safe. It also helps maximize its output and make it last longer.
Reasons Why Solar PV Testing Is Important
Now that you have a better idea of what is solar PV testing, here are the top reasons why it is Important:
IEC 62446 Compliance
One of the main reasons why solar PV testing is a must is because of IEC 62446 compliance. This dictates the minimum standards for corrective, preventive, performance-related maintenance of PV systems. This standard also specifies the inspection requirement of the system hence why a periodic verification report is necessary.
System Performance Verification
The main reason why many people opt to have solar PV installed is to get benefits such as lower energy bills. This is why it’s only natural to confirm whether you can get the said benefit from your PV system. One way of doing that is by conducting a solar PV test for verification purposes.
Solar panels along with their racking systems must be grounded to prevent fire hazards and electrical shock similar to other electrical equipment. However, grounding systems often degrade after some time due to various reasons.
The chances of this happening might be low, but conducting periodic solar PV testing will help you identify whether its grounding system is working well or if it needs repairs or replacement.
Identify Surface Contamination and Physical Damage
Another reason why solar PV testing is important is that PV modules tend to be contaminated or dirty after some time. This can significantly reduce the performance of the PV system, but regular testing will help identify this problem without causing more damage and inconvenience.
Avoid Fire Risk
Over the years, the number of fire incident reports due to solar PV systems malfunction is increasing. Periodic solar PV testing will help mitigate this risk by examining the system’s electrical components to ensure that they are working well and there are no electrical faults that can cause fire accidents.
Most of the components of a PV system are under long periods of warranty. One way to maximize the use of these warranties is by conducting regular solar PV testing. The test results will tell you whether there is damage to the vital components of the system. If there are, then you can have the manufacturer fix it for you instead of spending money out of your pockets.
Like other types of electronics, it is important to conduct thorough solar PV testing to determine the quality and performance of the panels under specific environmental stresses. This will also help you know whether the installation and the materials meet the mandated safety requirement to avoid costly accidents later on.
Many might think that constant solar PV testing is a waste of money. However, it’s definitely worth it because you get peace of mind that your PV system will not cause accidents, and it’s working well.