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 Inverter Q.C

MBIPV focuses on building integrated PV (BIPV) system where the PV is aesthetically integrated into the building architecture and envelope. The photovoltaic (PV) system can be either stand-alone or grid-connected. Grid-connected PV systems use inverters, the so-called heart of the PV system. Inverters are well tested for the European, US and Japanese market, but applications in the ASEAN region are limited with little experience on product performance under local conditions. To ensure a high reliability of the PV system, imported products must have IEC, UL, EN or other international recognized certificates. Local manufactured inverters are to be thoroughly tested and any faulty units from the field shall be assessed in further detail.

For this reason an inverter quality control centre (IQCC) is set up to ensure that products meet local requirements under local conditions. The IQCC will collaborate closely with local and international stakeholders on dissemination of the results.

Objectives of IQCC

  • To conduct quality and reliability assurance testing for locally manufactured inverter products;
  • To assess failed inverter units (all brands) and collaborate with the manufacturers for product improvements;
  • To disseminate information on results, lessons learned and best practices to national stakeholders and industry (service providers, manufacturers); and
  • To collaborate with international inverter testing facilities on exchange of results and experience.

Scope of Work

Quality testing

The IQCC is a facility to assure the quality and reliability of PV inverters is tested and validated for local use. Testing is not mandatory for imported certified inverter products with IEC, EN, CE, UL and other international recognized certification. For local manufactured products quality control testing is mandatory, but is an acceptance and not compliance test. The IQCC shall collaborate with the PV Industry in Malaysia to disseminate gained experience and results. The PV industry is requested to send new inverter products or faulty units to the IQCC for testing and verification.

The IQCC will operate as indoor test facility and covers single phase grid-connected products from 1 to 10kWp.The test procedure on local manufactured inverters can include the following issues but not limited to:

  • Inverter requirements:

Performance, efficiency vs. loads (resistive, inductive, capacitive, non-linear, and tuned), peak power rating, power quality (total harmonic distortion), thermal (IR) imaging, RF emissions, lightning and switching transient simulation, thermal chamber for extreme temperatures, humidity, long-term operating (aging) with failure diagnostics, auto reconnection after a trip, short circuit capacity, AC and DC isolation, highly accelerated life testing (HALT) and highly accelerated stress screening (HASS).

  • Installation requirements:

EMI, voltage regulation, frequency, harmonics, flicker, over-voltage from direct/indirect lightning and transient over-voltage in grid, DC injection and power factor.

  • Protection requirements:

Islanding, grounding, isolation device, burn test.

IQCC will conduct quality control for local manufactured products and may also test similar rated (certified) products from different manufacturers under a controlled environment. E.g. several equally rated inverter products on the same PV system to get good comparison on the energy yield and efficiency of the inverter.

Failure Investigation

The IQCC is responsible for testing failed inverter units from installations to investigate the problem and inform the local stakeholders on lessons learned. The failed inverters will be provided to the IQCC from the responsible service providers for detailed assessment. The findings shall be disclosed to national stakeholders interested and can be disseminated to manufacturers to improve their product for a fee of service.

After receiving the faulty units, IQCC is investigating the problem and may, if possible, do some tests on the unit. The test procedure on failed inverters can include the following issues but not limited to:

Performance, thermal (IR) imaging, lightning and over voltage protection, thermal chamber, humidity and others.

This activity is critical to improve the reliability for inverters (and therefore the PV system performance) for the local conditions. We have to understand the increased impact (compared to Europe, US and Japan) of the local conditions to even certified inverter products.

International Collaboration

The IQCC collaborates with international parties, such as e.g. RISE (Australia), Fhg-ISE (Germany), KMUTT (Thailand), Arsenal (Austria), FH Burgdorf (Switzerland) and others. Collaboration will be on exchange of results and transfer of know-how and expertise.

Further the IQCC can collaborate with international inverter manufacturers on product improvements to meet local conditions or can conduct testing on client’s requirement for fee of service, too.

Dissemination of Information

IQCC will collaborate closely with any national stakeholder to improve the confidence in the inverter technology and the grid-connection. This includes dissemination of all findings and results (reports, technical papers, seminars, and others). This activity is important to build capacity on the know-how on inverters and the application with inverters in Malaysia.

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