The modules are mounted, the inverter placed, and the wiring is done—but before you (or your installer) put away the tools, commissioning procedures are necessary to verify system safety and initial performance.
Although recommended in the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) resource guide, a universal procedure for PV system commissioning has not been implemented in the United States. In Europe, many agencies are following the commissioning recommendations of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Extensive commissioning testing is commonplace for commercial-scale PV systems, and having a solid procedure for residential systems helps ensure the system is properly installed and performing optimally. This article focuses on the tests performed and tools used to commission the PV system at the Cloudview Ecofarm (see the “Commissioning Cloudview” sidebar in this article and ”Increasing Production with Single-Axis Tracking” in HP153).
The following electrical tests are recommended by IEC 62446 (and by NABCEP) for commissioning: