The Photovoltaic Components Testing Laboratory of CENER (National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain), has obtained the ENAC accreditation for carrying out the tests on solar trackers according to the IEC 62817: 2014 standard. This milestone makes CENER the first and only one laboratory in Spain to be accredited by the spanish national accreditation entity ENAC to carry out this activity.
Solar trackers are a key element when trying to obtain the maximum level of electric generation in photovoltaic solar energy installations, and they are a critical component in concentrating photovoltaic technology systems. Solar trackers can provide an optimal orientation for photovoltaic modules, increasing the level of power generation for flat technology modules between 20% and 45% with respect to fixed tilted PV installations, depending on the type of tracking.
For this purpose, the international standard IEC 62817:2014 contains procedures to measure and verify the parameters indicated in the technical data sheet of the solar tracker. This standard establishes the acceptance and rejection criteria for the results of the tests to be carried out, and subsequently according to these results, it is possible to qualify the product. The IEC 62817:2014 standard contains, among others, climatic tests (thermal cycling tests, humidity-freeze cycles, etc.); operating tests (accelerated cycles, operation with the presence of dust, etc.); mechanical tests (wind loading, backlash, deflection, etc.); characterization of the consumption of the tracker and the precision of the tracking system, and, finally, specific testing of the tracker electronic component.
The application of the IEC standard offers the guarantee that parameters presented in the solar tracker data sheet are measured and verified by consistent and reliable procedures. At the same time this information can be used to compare the characteristics of different solar trackers.
Researchers from the Department of Photovoltaic Solar Energy of CENER have developed their own methodology based on the IEC 62817:2014 standard, implementing the test sequences and grouping them, with the aim of reducing the number of samples needed, as well as the movements of the heaviest pieces, to optimize in this way the total duration of the tests. The methodology developed has been disseminated in technical publications and international congresses, having finally obtained accreditation from ENAC.