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INDUSTRYSAFETY


incident involving a PV installation need to be sure that they are not being exposed to a hazardous environment.


As with so many issues in business, any shortcomings and errors cannot always be attributed to lack of care and poor workmanship. In reality they are more likely to be the result of inadequate process procedures and documentation. Solar PV is one of the fastest growing global technologies and it is generally recognised worldwide that the solar industry has developed at a faster rate than the standard- making organisations have been able to keep pace with. Despite these highlighted problems it appears to have been overlooked in places that an international standard already exists that if


incorporated in mandatory national documents would help to eliminate safety and quality issued.


Standard safety


The IEC62446 standard defines the minimum requirements for system documentation, commissioning tests and inspection for PV systems. As such, this standard not only specifies the minimum testing and inspection requirements but equally importantly how the inspection and test results are documented and supplied to the consumer after installation.


This international standard was published in March 2009. When voting was taken on this standard, all member countries voted in favour, including the UK, USA, Russia, China and many other major contributors. The standard has subsequently been adopted as a European EN in many of the European member states and is generally regarded as a significant contribution to improving the quality and safety of PV systems. As a result? the documentation and forms described in IEC62446 should be provided in addition to the documentation required by each country’s electrical installation standards.


Paper trail of proof


It is interesting to note that the emphasis is on documentation, and this is in effect the evidence used to demonstrate that appropriate precautions and tests were undertaken prior to the handing over of a PV system to the property owner. Such information not only provides evidence to the consumer that work has been performed correctly, but it also acts as a check list to an installer and ensures that best practice is followed with the work that is being undertaken. Various countries including the UK have already adopted the principles of IEC62446 in their national accreditation schemes and although the standard is not mandatory, it is effectively enforced because no feed-in-tariff will be paid to a consumer unless the installation has been installed by an accredited installer.


A broader understanding and acceptance of IEC62446 would therefore not only help safeguard the future integrity of solar PV installations wherever they are – but would also help allay the concerns that have been raised over the proficiency of the PV installers involved.


© 2011 Angel Business Communications. Permission required.


It is interesting to note that the emphasis is on documentation and this is in effect the


evidence used to demonstrate appropriate precautions and tests were undertaken prior to the handing over of a PV system to the property owner


27


www.solar-pv-uk.com Issue IV 2011


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