The electronics and IT association VDE has responded to reports in recent weeks about safety deficiencies in small photovoltaic (PV) systems and adapted its testing regulations. In the future, he wants to examine and certify balcony power plants as an entire system – no longer just individual components. The VDE announced on Thursday that the corresponding new requirements were “developed in accordance with the current legal basis as well as the applicable regulations and standards”. The regulation now covers “all components of plug-in mini power generation systems. These include one or two PV modules, the cables and plugs, the inverter, the grid connection and the mounting system.”
New test regulations
Previously, many small energy producers in their own households were worried about whether balcony power plants with Deye inverters might have to remain permanently disconnected from the grid. At the beginning of August, both TÜV Rheinland and Intertek had certified a combination of the Chinese manufacturer’s important component with external relay boxes, to offer effective network and system protection (NA) in accordance with the application rule VDE-AR-N 4105. At the beginning of July it was known that the Deye inverters a relay is missing as part of these safety precautions. Ultimately, this is a double protection, which according to local regulations is a prerequisite for the operating license. Just a few days ago Deye received approval for a solution with an external relay box from the Federal Network Agency.
The new test regulations, which can be used to evaluate the entire balcony power plant product, has the advantage, according to the VDE, that not only the individual components themselves, but also the interactions between the individual components are taken into account. This increases protection and security for users. Plug-in PV systems are very popular with consumers, emphasized VDE boss Ansgar Hinz. By using it, households could “actively participate in the energy transition”. The VDE wants to support this: “For this reason, it is important to us that the new devices are safe for the user.” Hinz sees the association, which has been active for over 130 years, as predestined to ensure this.
Product standardization is in progress
According to its own information, the VDE wants to continue to use it after a U-turn, “to facilitate the installation and operation of mini PV systems without compromising on safety”. That’s why he was in one at the beginning of the year Position paper made suggestions for improvements, some of which the legislature has already taken up when working on simpler framework conditions for such energy generation systems. The VDE standardization organization DKE is working in parallel on the first product standard for the overall balcony power plant product. A result can be expected “this year”.
The corresponding The association published a draft standardization in October. Hundreds of comments were received, the experts in the specialist committees evaluated. If the schedule stays, manufacturers could begin adapting and certifying their products to the standard at the beginning of 2024, says the German Society for Solar Energy (DGS). After that, however, it will be quite a while before appropriate systems “in accordance with VDE 0126-95” are actually available on the market for end customers. At times, the Federal Network Agency also found inverters that met the formal requirements, but showed deficiencies in electromagnetic compatibility during a metrological check.