Module electronics: New safety standard from TÜV Rheinland

Not only modules but also electronic junction boxes have to endure the climate c
Not only modules but also electronic junction boxes have to endure the climate c

TÜV Rheinland has developed the new standard 2 PfG 2305 for electronic components and micro-inverters for solar modules. The test specification is valid for devices with a system voltage of up to 1,500 V DC - this includes module junction boxes with electronic components, which have long been used for monitoring functions or to optimise the performance of the modules.

The new test specification is more extensive than previous standards for junction boxes and electronic components, said Ralf-Martin Müller, head of the solar energy business area at TÜV Rheinland: "Micro-inverters or monitoring elements are exposed to much higher environmental stresses when they are installed in a module." In particular, Müller is referring to fluctuations in temperature.

Over the last few years, electronics has taken a leading role in module junction boxes for the PV industry. Functions such as data transmission, theft protection or interrupting the power supply in case of fire are increasingly being integrated. For small PV applications, modules with built-in micro-inverters are being brought onto the market. As TÜV Rheinland emphasises, electronic circuits in the junction box need to be tested for safety, electromagnetic compatibility and efficiency. Previous standards were defined for other applications and are therefore only conditionally applicable for electronics in junction boxes, according to the experts. The new test specification fully takes into account the requirements of EN 50548 that apply to photovoltaic junction boxes and combines these with electronics-specific requirements. This means that the new test specification also includes testing the components in a climatic chamber, with temperature changes from -40 to +85 °C over a period of 1,000 hours. In addition, mechanical load tests, insulation tests and tests with UV irradiation are performed in the laboratory. To ensure that the components are protected against dirt, dust and moisture, they must conform to insulation class IP 55. TÜV Rheinland states that the new testing standard applies to converters according to the IEC 62109 series, components such as MPP trackers or monitoring devices as defined by IEC 61010.

Ralf Ossenbrink

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