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close this bookPhotovoltaic Household Electrification Programs - Best Practices (WB)
close this folderTechnical requirements
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View the documentHardware design
View the documentStandards and specifications
View the documentOther technical considerations
View the documentQuality control
View the documentMaintenance services
View the documentEducating users

Standards and specifications

7.23 Government or independent agencies should either set performance standards for solar home systems or, in programs utilizing government funds, should require that the system components meet internationally recognized performance standards for modules, controllers, other electronics, and batteries. These standards need to be effectively enforced, as has been done in the Indonesia BANPRES Project. BPPT, as the executing agency, established system specifications for procuring the solar home systems, based on information obtained from consumer surveys and field tests of several solar home system types. The BPPT Solar Test Center was also used to evaluate various system configurations. Each country need not establish its own standard, but can adopt those established by the international PV community.

7.24 Both prescriptive and performance specifications have been used for procuring solar home systems. Prescriptive specifications outline the requirements for each major component. For example, they may specify the size of the PV modules, the battery capacity, the wattage or lumen output of the lamp, the wire sizes, and the controller set points and safety features. This approach has been used in the GEF-financed Zimbabwe PV Project and the Indonesia BANPRES Project and is included in the proposed World Bank/GEF assisted Indonesia Solar Home Systems Project. Prescriptive specifications are easier to implement and make verifying compliance with the requirements relatively simple. Performance specifications detail the output or service which the solar home system is expected to provide. They may specify the number and lumen output of the lights, the average hours of lighting needed at each light point, the watt-hours of other appliances, and the loss of load probability or availability. The supplier then determines the system configuration according to site conditions and performance requirements. This approach is used in the World Bank/GEF-assisted India Renewable Resources Development Project. Performance specifications give suppliers greater freedom to optimize the design configuration but can make verifying system performance difficult.

7.25 Enforcing solar home system standards should be easier under ESCO or leasing arrangements that involve bulk or high-volume purchases. Ensuring performance standards is more difficult in a less-structured program that may not provide customers with the information necessary to judge the quality of the system. A PV systems mechanism rating similar to the UL rating system in the United States and the KEMAKEUR system in Europe would be a useful guide for consumers.