AS / NZS Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays; AS / NZS Structural Design Actions Part 2: Wind Actions; AS / NZS. The draft of amendments to AS/NZS Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays was released for public. The new AS/NZS has been released as of the 6th November and is applicable as of 6th February. (3 months from the date of its.
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This article details the key updates and explains how they affect installers. The latest update includes several positive changes and clarifications bzs, compared with the release, the nze are minimal. Standard updates like these are a necessary hurdle for an industry that is constantly growing in size and experience, and encounters an ever-broadening range of products.
Global Sustainable Energy Solutions GSESwith its extensive experience in PV training, design and inspections, is regularly involved in discussions over practical methods that installers can use to implement the latest standards and guidelines.
Solar installation standard – how the recent changes affect you
This article describes the key changes to the standard. Please note that not all changes are included here, so GSES recommends that installers read the standard for themselves to ensure they are aware ass all current requirements. This requirement was introduced with an aim to reduce the risk of short circuit by providing additional mechanical protection.
The latest version of the standard has reduced the scope of this requirement, providing a more practical method of achieving the desired protection.
The areas requiring HD conduit are now limited to those that are not clearly visible, specifically, ceiling spaces, wall cavities and under floors. In other areas nss a building, cabling is more visible and therefore there is a lower risk of damage.
Nonetheless, DC PV cables within a building, but not within these cavities, need to be protected with medium-duty MD conduit. While fewer areas will now require HD conduit, the change may not have a significant impact on PV installations in the domestic market.
Although nzx only UV-resistant HD conduit increases the cost of materials, it increases the durability of the system and may reduce the installation time. The revised HD conduit requirements bzs have a significant impact when PV systems are installed on sheds and commercial buildings, where cavities are not used to ad DC cabling.
In these installations, it is now possible for the installation to be completed without HD conduit. In addition, non-domestic buildings are permitted to be exempt from using HD conduit where the installation method otherwise achieves the objective of minimising short-circuit risk. An example of this may be az use of cable trays. However, it will be difficult to demonstrate adequate protection – so, a safer alternative would be to adhere to the same requirements as domestic installations.
UV-resistant HD conduit – a good option for achieving compliant conduit throughout the PV installation. This led to installers running 4 mm 2 earthing cables, independently, all the way from the array to the main switchboard.
It further specifies that the earthing cable from the array frame can be connected to the AC earth conductor at the inverter.
However, in doing so, installers need to ensure that the earthing system will not be interrupted if the inverter is removed and that the cable is of sufficient size according to the system rating and type.
It is not only clear that AC and DC need to be segregated, but insulation barriers have also been clearly specified as the means of segregation. The only exception to this is when cabling is outside enclosures, where 50 mm separation can be used. Within 50 mm, an insulation barrier will be required. A simple way to abide by these requirements is to install AC and DC in separate enclosures and separate conduit Figure 2. Installing AC and DC in the same enclosure, with a compliant insulation barrier, is difficult to achieve.
The IP4X rating requires the barrier to prevent penetration of objects with a 1 mm diameter or greater. In addition to this, AC and DC switchgear cannot share the same mounting rail, unless it is constructed from a non-conductive material.
It will be difficult for barriers installed within enclosures to follow these requirements, unless purpose-made, compliant enclosures are used. AC and DC installed in separate conduit and enclosures.
This is the most effective way to achieve compliant insulation barriers between AC and DC circuits. In many instances, this has resulted in installation of large cages around the inverter, isolators and cable runs Figure 3.
However, the version of the standard provides clarification that reduces the need for installing these cages. It now states that, if HD conduit is used on all accessible cabling, up to and including the inverter terminals, and the DC isolators and protection devices are in enclosures – only accessible with a tool – then there is no need for additional barriers. This will save installers a lot of work, especially if they are already using HD conduit and installing isolators within enclosures with lockable flaps.
However, if a lockable room is used for providing restricted access then these precautions are not necessary. Cage installed by Solar Powered Homes to achieve restricted access. Cages like this may no longer be necessary. Although this may seem minor, not adhering to this can result in circulating currents between strings, even when the system is isolated.
Solar (Photovoltaic) Systems Standards – AG – Australian Business Licence and Information Service
This could lead to a potential hazard if the circuit is disconnected without adequate protection such as a load-breaking DC isolator. Modules deteriorating over time can then compound the difference. Therefore, installers upgrading old systems with new parallel strings need to pay particular attention to this requirement.
As previously stated, one of the key drivers of updates to the standard is the introduction of new products to the industry. However, please note that power 503 and installation methods have been set for these product-specific requirements, so it is important that they are read carefully ax using these products.
SolarEdge power optimiser a DC-conditioning unit. One of the main benefits of these new products is that individual modules can be orientated in different directions, owing to the ability of these products to track the maximum power point MPP of each module independently.
The previous standard only considered the scenario of a string of modules connected to a single MPPT and therefore did not allow for the flexibility of these new products. This is particularly useful 533 installing on roofs with small areas facing different directions.
As DC-conditioning units and microinverters have unique electrical characteristics, it has been unclear how they should affect the labelling and signage displayed. For DC-conditioning units, the mzs and current displayed on the fire emergency information signs are to be equal to the maximum input ratings of the inverter, consistent with sizing the load-breaking DC isolator. For microinverter systems, displaying these ratings is generally not necessary as the voltage is usually the same as for other AC electrical systems VAC.
Furthermore, as microinverters have a simple shutdown procedure, the method of isolating the system has also been incorporated into the fire emergency information sign and therefore a separate sign for the system shutdown procedure is not necessary.
AS/NZS – Standards Australia
Uncertainty around fire emergency information signs has not been limited to DC-conditioning units and microinverter systems. Even for standard PV systems, the conditions used for calculating the displayed system ratings have varied.
This means that measurements taken during commissioning are not to be displayed on these signs. It also further specifies that, where multiple arrays are installed, the voltage shall be the highest value present and the current shall be the sum of all array currents.
These clarifications will help to provide consistency in the industry and more reliable information for emergency workers. Another requirement introduced in was the warning regarding DC isolators not de-energising the PV array and array cabling. GSES has observed many PV systems installed since this update that have not included this warning, sometimes owing to the installer not being aware of the requirement or using up old-stock labelling kits.
An example shutdown procedure has also been displayed in the standard. These changes to the standard may assist in the uptake of this requirement, including the new colouring.
Although installing the correct labelling and signage is important, where they are displayed is also vital.
For example, the labelling of conduit has been simplified from being required at each end and each change in direction, to being required at every 2 metres, consistent with the cabling labels.
Furthermore, the labelling needs to be visible. This means that, if conduit is fixed to a wall, the solar labelling needs to be facing out. To assist PV installers in keeping on top of changes in the industry, like these necessary standards updates, the Clean Energy Council has put in place a continuous professional development CPD program. GSES also provides professional development days at locations around Australia, which give installers the opportunity to achieve the annual requirement of CPD points in a single day.
Topics covered in recent GSES professional development days include commissioning, maintenance and fault finding; responding to solar tenders: As Inspections Manager, Dan is responsible for the oversight of PV installation audits around Australia, including technical review of inspection outcomes and the management and training of PV inspectors.
He has invaluable experience in assessing Australian PV standards and has provided technical consultancy services to regulatory authorities.
After a challenging past five years, the electrical services industry is expected to experience Solar installation standard – how the recent changes affect you. DC-conditioning units and microinverters As previously stated, one of the key drivers of updates to the standard is the introduction of new products to the industry.
Signage Uncertainty around fire emergency information signs has not been limited to DC-conditioning units and microinverter systems. Keeping on top of changes To assist PV installers in keeping on top of changes in the industry, like these necessary standards updates, the Clean Energy Council has put in place a continuous professional development CPD program. A wholistic approach to long-term project success Partnering with an end-to-end provider enables experienced and highly trained specialists to Electrical services industry to experience long-term growth After a challenging past five years, the electrical services industry is expected to experience Top energy conference in Melbourne next week Australia’s most comprehensive clean and renewable energy event, All-Energy Australia, Surge protection design philosophy.
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