|Photovoltaic Household Electrification Programs - Best Practices (WB)|
7.29 The solar home system programs in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic demonstrate the importance of quality in manufacturing of systems and their installation. The need for quality assurance extends to component purchase as well as system assembly, testing, and installation. Solar home system installation should always be entrusted to trained technicians.
7.30 Quality assurance directly impacts the profitability of the solar home system business. Experience in China and Sri Lanka clearly shows the link between significant cost savings and high-volume procurement from reputable manufacturers of quality electronic components used in manufacturing controllers, switches and lights. Due to their low volume of production, system assemblers in China and Sri Lanka currently purchase components from local retail stores, where quality is suspect. This necessitates testing every key component (transistor, capacitor, inductor, etc.) for quality before assembly, thus reducing manufacturing productivity. Lower volume procurement from sources where quality is not assured also results in a higher percentage of returns, increased cost of warranty services and general decline in consumer satisfaction.
7.31 Some suppliers provide packaged kits that include all the solar home system components, lengths of wiring, bolts' nuts, terminal strips, wire connectors, and other hardware needed for each system. This prepackaged kit ensures that the installer uses only recommended equipment and will not have to improvise in the field. The installer also needs proper tools, including multimeter, compass, spirit level, hydrometer, and templates for tilt adjustment.
7.32 How well a solar home system is installed is as important as the quality of its components and assembly. Suppliers should develop installation standards and acceptance test procedures and require that these be used. Any "checklist" should include instructions on how to:
· Install the module (orienting it correctly, avoiding shading, minimizing wire runs, ensuring that the module support is securely attached to the roof beams, tightening the connections, and sealing the junction boxes);
· Locate and fasten the controller and battery enclosure properly;
· Attach switches, outlets, fixtures, and wiring (including which wire sizes to use, how to attach components neatly and securely to walls and ceilings, and how to secure electrical connections);
· Boost the battery charge before installation;
· Check all connections and ensure that the system operates properly before it is handed over to the user;
· Teach the user to operate the system safely; and
· Provide the user with the appropriate documentation, including warranty information, and any spare parts, if supplied, such as fuses and distilled water.