Standard Practice for Installation, Commissioning, Operation, and Maintenance Process (ICOMP) of Photovoltaic Arrays
4.1 With the rapid expansion of the commercial photovoltaic market and the various standards and independent certification entities evolving, a consensus standard practice for the ICOMP process is needed to bring consistency to the market.
4.2 Investors and insurance companies need consistency of product and standards to reduce costs of capital and underwriting. Use of a consensus standard practice is expected to improve consistency and reduce risk for investors.
4.3 Photovoltaic systems operate in harsh environments that are not typical for electrical equipment and generally inconsistent with electrical contractor experience. Documented processes are needed to ensure performance and durability of the systems over the long operating life.
4.4 The goal of this practice is to implement processes to improve safety and reliability, reduce lifecycle costs (commonly referred to as Levelized Cost of Energy or LCOE), and encourage the development of feedback loops for continuous improvement of results.
4.5 This practice may be applied during any or all phases of the PV System Lifecycle (refer to Section 5). A record of the activities carried out according to this practice shall be included in the Report (refer to Section 8).
1.1 This practice details the minimum requirements for installation, commissioning, operations, and maintenance processes to ensure safe and reliable power generation for the expected life of the photovoltaic system. Specifically dealing with commercial photovoltaic installations, this practice covers a broad spectrum of designs and applications and is focused on the proper process to ensure quality.
1.2 This practice does not cover the electrical aspects of installation found in existing and national codes and does not replace or supersede details of electrical installation covered by the same. The practice does address the integration of best practices into design and construction.
1.3 This practice shall not dictate specific design criteria or favor any product or technology.
1.4 This practice shall be focused on the proper, documented process required to build and operate a quality PV plant as defined in Section 3.
1.5 Integration of best practices shall be relevant to this standard and promote a mechanism for rapid evolution and reaction to changes or events. Conformity assessment for PV power plants is being developed through the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications (IECRE System). Sandia Labs has developed several model documents that may be adopted as acceptable consensus standards through other standards development organizations.
1.6 The standard is divided into three key areas:
1.6.1 Design, engineering, and construction of the PV plant. Systems should be designed with operation and maintenance (O&M) in mind. Further standards should be developed for building integrated or building mounted systems, modules with embedded power electronics, lightweight flexible modules, or other specific components.
1.6.2 Commissioning, testing, and approval for power generation (Utility Witness Testing). Standards for owner acceptance will also be addressed.
1.6.3 O&M of the PV plant including performance monitoring, periodic inspection, preventive maintenance, and periodic re-commissioning.
1.7 Safety and hazard considerations unique to this application, such as worker fall protection, electrical exposure, accessibility of modules, and roof clearance (around the perimeter of the array) are addressed by other codes, standards, or authorities having jurisdiction.
1.8 This practice provides guidelines for minimum processes required and must be used in conjunction with applicable codes and standards, government regulations, manufacturer requirements, and best practices.
1.9 This practice is not intended to replace or supersede any other applicable local codes, standards or Licensed Design Professional instructions for a given installation.
1.10 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
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