IEC 61215-1 Terrestrial Photovoltaic Compliance Testing
Terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules – Design qualification and type approval – Part 1: Test requirements
IEC 61215 1 testing evaluates terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules suitable for long-term operation in general open-air climates. This standard applies to all terrestrial flat plate module materials. This includes crystalline silicon module types as well as thin film modules.
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Summary of IEC 61215-1 Compliance Testing
This standard’s objective is to determine the electrical and thermal characteristics of the module. Additionally, IEC 61215-1 is used to show that the module is capable of withstanding prolonged exposure in specified climates. The actual lifetime expectancy of modules so qualified will depend on their design, their environment, and the conditions under which they are operated.
EN 61215-1 testing does not apply to modules used with concentrated sunlight although it may be utilized for low concentrator modules (1 to 3 suns). For low concentration modules, all tests are performed using the current, voltage, and power levels expected at the design concentration.
IEC 61215 Testing Procedures
To be considered as a passing unit, each sample must meet the following criteria:
- The degradation of maximum output power can not exceed the prescribed limit after each test, nor 8% after each test sequence
- No sample has exhibited any open circuit during the tests
- There is no visual evidence of a major defect
- The insulation test requirements are met after the tests
- The wet leakage current test requirements are met throughout the whole test sequence and after the damp heat test
A total of 8 units are chosen for IEC 61215 testing. These units are taken at random from a production batch or batches. Before testing, the units are conditioned to sunlight whether it be real or simulated.
Thermal shock testing determines the ability of the unit to withstand thermal mismatch, fatigue, and other stresses caused by repeated changes in temperature.
First, the unit is installed in a room-temperature chamber. Next, the temperature monitoring equipment is connected to the equipment under testing. Each module is connected to the appropriate current supply. The unit is then subjected to cycling between module temperatures of -40 C and +85 C.
The rate of change in temperature between low and high extremes must not exceed 100 C/h. The module must remain stable at each extreme for at least 10 minutes. Lastly, the cycle time will not exceed 6 hours unless the module has such high heat capacity that a longer cycle is required.
Humidity-Freeze Test: Humidity freeze testing determines the ability of the unit to withstand the effects of high temperature and humidity followed by sub-zero temperatures.
A temperature sensor is attached to the front or back surface of the unit. Next, the module is installed at room temperature in the climatic chamber. The unit is subjected to 10 complete cycles. The maximum and minimum temperatures shall be within +/- 2 C of the specified levels. The relative humidity is maintained within +/- 5% of the specified value at all temperatures above room temperature.
Damp-Heat Test: This IEC 61215-1 test procedure determines the ability of a unit to withstand the effects of long-term penetration of humidity.
First, the test starts with preconditioning. The module is preconditioned at room temperature. A temperature of 85 C, relative humidity of 85%, and 1,000 h test duration are applied.
Immersion testing evaluates the insulation of the unit under wet operating conditions. Immersion testing also verifies that moisture from rain, fog, dew, or melted snow does not enter the active parts of the module circuitry. This may ultimately cause corrosion, a ground fault, or a safety hazard.
All connections are to be representative of the recommended field wiring installation. Precautions are taken to ensure that leakage currents do not originate from the instrumentation wiring attached to the module. First, the unit is immersed in the tank to a depth sufficient to cover all surfaces except junction box entries not designed for immersion.
Expert IEC 61215-1 Compliance Testing
Keystone Compliance assists manufacturers with IEC 61215-1 and EN 61215-1 test compliance. Please contact us for more information on how Keystone Compliance can assist you with identifying and fulfilling your IEC 61215-1 test lab needs.
For more standards on photovoltaic compliance testing, please visit the following pages below: