What standards and certifications are used for PV mounting systems?

Whether you buy a shoe, a pillow or an aircraft - most products are manufactured (or shall be manufactured) based on some quality and safety standards set by international bodies formed of experts in the field. Solar modules and even the PV mounting systems are no exception. There are different types of mounting systems. Most common for homes are those which are roof-mounted as a retrofit. In such a situation, the installer has to see whether the roof has the strength to hold the proposed structure and the modules. Roofs may have to be strengthened. The slope is a consideration and may have to be adjusted.

Which organizations develop standards for PV mounting systems?

The following international bodies develop and maintain for various mounting systems types and installation procedures:

  • International Organization of Standardization, ISO
  • International ElectrotechnicalCommision, IEC
  • International Code Council ICC
  • SEMI International Standards Program, SEMI
  • Underwriter Laboratories, UL (deals with safety issues)
  • European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, IEEE
  • American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM
  • European Committee for Standardization, CEN
  • American National Standards Institute, ANSI

You can observe that these bodies develop standards for almost all products. PV equipment and mounting structures are among them. ISO is the highest umbrella authority for standards, and other national and international special committees / organizations will work in conformance with decisions of ISO. IEC technical committee TC 82 with its many working groups is the responsible committee for the development of standards for PV equipment and testing procedures of these. [caption id="attachment_4900" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Flat Roof Mounts Flat Roof Mounts - also subject to quality and safety standards[/caption]

Major mounting systems standards

  In a given country, and for a particular type of installation, some of the standards specified by some or all of these bodies may apply subject to the national regulations. Any desired standards document can be purchased normally from the body directly or from third parties. All operators, installation contractors, maintenance people related to PV mounting structures have to perform according to these standards. Certified training institutes are available for training technicians to work according to these standards. There are other organizations for quality inspection and training. Some of the major applicable standards are:

  • UL 2703, Standard for Mounting Systems, Mounting Devices, Clamping/Retention Devices, and Ground Lugs for Use with Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels
  • ICC AC 428, Acceptance Criteria for ModularFraming Systems Used to SupportPhotovoltaic (PV) Modules
  • UL 3703, Outline of Investigation for Solar Trackers
  • UL 3730, Defines photovoltaic junction boxes intended to be attached to photovoltaic modules and panels
  • UL 9703, Outline of Investigation for Distributed Generation Wiring Harnesses
  • UL 6703, Outline of Investigation for Connectors for Use in Photovoltaic Systems
  • IEC 61853-1, Photovoltaic (PV) moduleperformance testingand energy rating - Part 1: Irradianceand temperature performance measurements and power rating
  • IEC 62109-2, Safety of power converters for use in photovoltaic power systems - Part 1: General requirements


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