Revised Test Methods and Standards for Solar Energy Kits Submission to IEC

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VeraSol is currently in the process of submitting revised versions of the test methods and standards for off-grid solar energy kits for review by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). These updates pertain to IEC TS 62257-9-5 and IEC TS 62257-9-8, which specifically cover pico-PV products and solar home system kits with a capacity of up to 350 Wp. These revisions aim to simplify the certification process, address recent market developments, and incorporate valuable input obtained from stakeholders earlier this year. Notable changes that have been incorporated based on stakeholder recommendations include:

  • Increase the renewal interval from 2 years to 3 years
  • Allow the presentation of consumer-facing information to be more flexible
  • Make the charging efficiency test optional for appliances with batteries by allowing a default value to be used for the efficiency and power the energy service calculations
  • Remove several PV durability tests and labeling requirements
  • Require that the maximum current and nominal voltage (or voltage range) be stated for every output port to help simplify the enforcement of the port requirements
  • Add a test to ensure products are either protected from reverse current or have an adequate warning to instruct consumers not to connect power sources to the output ports
  • Add test procedures and requirements for products advertising “fast-charging” capabilities

These changes are in addition to many other changes proposed in the request for stakeholder feedback, which generally received broad support. Three of the key changes already presented in that document are to:

  • Reduce the sample size from n=6 (pico-PV products) or n=4 (SHS kits) to n=2 for QTM testing of all products
  • Reduce the truth-in-advertising tolerance from 15% to 10%
  • Change the random sampling minimum stock requirements to 150 units, regardless of the number of samples selected or the testing type

We expect that these changes will help simplify the certification process while continuing to provide a rigorous and reliable set of requirements for solar energy kits. We anticipate the IEC committee will review the documents starting in November and we expect to provide revised documents that respond to their comments in early 2024. The IEC voting process and publishing may take another six months or more, though we hope the documents will be published in late 2024, after which we will begin transitioning to the new test methods and requirements.