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Solar / 24. May

PV Component Standards Revised

With the rapid development of technology in the photovoltaic (PV) energy sector, changes in regulations, standards and certifications are to be expected. The trend is generally toward the creation of international standards that harmonize existing norms or fill a regulatory gap in order to promote safe, efficient and robust PV systems and components. Easing the transition from old to new requirements is in the interest of manufacturers, investors and operators active in the PV industry.

EN 50618 harmonizes necessary standards for PV cables

A transition period is now underway affecting PV cables. Until now, two standards created by TÜV Rheinland, 2 PfG 1169 (for rated voltage up to 1000 V DC) and 2 PfG 1990 (for rated voltage up to 1500 V DC) have been recognized as the industry standards. However, a new European norm is set to replace these this year: EN 50618, which is very similar in content to the two abovementioned 2 PfG rules. The European standard was published on 27 October 2015 (DOP). The Date of Withdrawal (DOW) for this standard is 27 October 2017. This means that by that date the 2 PfG standards as well as any certification based on them will no longer be valid. As a result, from that date forward PV cables without an EN 50618 certification cannot be installed in PV arrays (IEC TS 62548) or in PV modules (IEC 61730-1 ed.2.0) that comply with the requirements of the current valid safety standards.

The new European standard incorporates all the requirements set out in 2 PfG 1169 and 1990, differing only in a few details designed to enhance safety. For example, the limits for wall thickness and smoke emissions are stricter in EN 50618, making the new standard more up-to-date and more stringent than its predecessors.

Going forward, tender documents should be adjusted to reflect these changes, as soon there will no longer be cables certified according to 2PfG. Moreover, industry actors should be aware when evaluating tenders in the interim period, that cables bearing an EN 50618 certification do meet 2PfG requirements as the new norm builds on the standards set out in 2PfG.

To enable a seamless transition, we are offering offering a special service by which PV cables can be tested and certified according to EN 50618 and which will include confirmation on the resulting certificate that the cables also comply with the previously applicable standard (either 2 PfG 1169 or 2 PfG 1990).

If you are interested in this or further solar topics, please contact our experts!

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