Advanced Solar Power Analyser

Solar Power ClampA highly versatile new AC/DC clamp meter has been introduced for effective power measurement and diagnostic testing of solar PV systems.

The high performance Seaward Solar Power Clamp is capable of measuring DC and AC circuit power, in addition to true RMS voltage and current, harmonic distortion, power factor, resistance & continuity, diode check and capacitance.

The advanced new power meter has been specially designed for use by solar PV installers and technicians interested in power measurement and analysis on AC and DC systems and carrying out diagnostic checks on inverters.

With the 25 year lifetime of PV systems, periodic inspection and testing is necessary to ensure that they are operating efficiently and that maximum power yields continue to be provided. As the PV industry matures there is expected to be a significant increase in the volume of periodic inspection and maintenance work, making the Solar Power Clamp an ideal tool for this job.

The rugged and reliable Power Clamp can be used for maintenance and troubleshooting on the PV system after commissioning and to ensure that the inverter and other system components are working properly.

For power efficiency analysis, the Seaward Power Clamp simply clips over the cable to measure current from the inverter and the supplied in-line connectors can be used to measure the DC voltage whilst the PV modules are connected to the inverter, giving an accurate reading of the power whilst the system is operational.

The new Seaward Power Clamp also has full clamp on multimeter functions and is suitable for use on systems up to 600A AC or DC current and 1000V. The new unit is supplied with test leads and probes and comes in an all-inclusive test kit carrying case.

The new instrument forms part of the Seaward Solar range of specialist test instrumentation and accessories for the solar PV sector. These include the new PV150 dedicated electrical test kit, Solar Survey 100 and 200R multi-function irradiance and surveying tools, the and the SolarCert Elements PV system test record keeping program.

Visit the Solar Power Clamp page for more information or request a quote today.

New Solarlink PV Test Kit Has Datalogging Capabilities

Solarlink Test KitThe latest solar PV test kit from Seaward Solar enables contractors to meet international electrical commissioning and system safety requirements quickly, thoroughly and effectively.

The new Solarlink Test Kit includes all the necessary test equipment and datalogging capabilities needed to perform pre-installation site surveys and measure the electrical safety and performance of PV systems in line with IEC 62446.

The kit combines the comprehensive electrical commissioning test capabilities of the new PV150 solar installation handheld tester with the advanced Solar Survey 200R multifunction PV survey meter.

Special wireless Solarlink connectivity between the two instruments enables real-time irradiance to be displayed and measured at the same time as electrical testing is being undertaken. This means that irradiance, module and ambient temperature can be recorded in real time within the PV150 as the electrical tests are conducted.

Once testing is completed, the USB download of time and date stamped test results, irradiance and temperature measurements provides full traceability and speeds up the completion of PV system documentation and customer handover packs.

In addition to solar PV system installation and commissioning, the new Solarlink Test Kit is ideal for conducting site surveys of potential installations, by quickly providing the information needed to calculate estimated annual solar irradiation and system yields of PV and solar thermal systems, as described in SAP 2009, Appendices H and M.

As well as the PV150 and the Solar Survey 200R and associated calibration certificates, the comprehensive kit includes an AC/DC current clamp, MC4 and Sunclix test lead adaptors and test probes – with a quick start instruction guide and video.

Visit the SolarLink Photovoltaic Test Kit product page for more information or request a quote.

New Kit Meets MCS Solar PV Test Needs

MCS Solar PV Panel Testing KitSeaward Solar has expanded its range of specialist test equipment for solar PV installation work with a new kit that provides the complete solution to MCS electrical testing needs.

The new all inclusive MCS Test Kit from Seaward Solar enables all installers to meet the electrical test requirements of MCS and BS EN 62446 quickly, easily and safely.

Traditionally, PV installers have brought together various test instruments in order to complete the solar system commissioning tests required by MCS.

Now, the new test kit from Seaward makes the choice of system testing equipment much simpler by combining the multi function PV100 electrical tester with the Solar Survey 100 irradiance meter, a clamp meter and supporting accessories.

The rugged and robust PV100 tester is hand held and battery operated for maximum portability. With the push of a single button the required sequence of electrical tests is carried automatically in a safe and controlled manner, avoiding the risk of contact with exposed live DC conductors.

The tester also has inbuilt memory for the storage of up to nine datasets for use in test reports. Voltage and current results are also compared by the tester to check that they are within 5% of each other; another requirement of IEC 62446.

The Solar Survey 100 multifunction irradiance meter is also included in the new MCS kit. This instrument uses a reference cell to make accurate irradiance measurements and also features dual temperature measurement, orientation and inclination measurement.

These special features enable the user to quickly identify the location where maximum levels of solar power can be collected and accurately measure irradiance, roof pitch, orientation and both ambient air and PV module temperature.

Completing the new MCS kit is an AC/DC current clamp, test probes‚ alligator clips, Sunclix and MC4 adaptor leads.

To support this all inclusive test package, also available is a complete range of Seaward Solar inspection test report and certificate documentation packs and the Seaward Solar Cert Elements PC software package for the automatic compilation of all PV test documentation and client system handover packs

Read more about the Solar MCS Test Kit.

Seaward at Ecobuild, London, UK - March 2012

MCS Solar PV Panel Testing KitEcobuild 2012

Seaward Solar Stand: N2772

Seaward Solar can draw on over 75 years experience in electrical safety testing technology to ensure that solar PV installers meet all international safety and technical standards.

For all involved with solar PV installation, rigorous testing and reporting is crucial to ensure maximum ROI, optimum conversion of solar energy and important operator safety for the lifetime of the array.

Seaward Solar’s unique range of test equipment and accessories meets these needs by providing a total solution for solar PV installation and testing.

New for Ecobuild, Seaward is introducing an all inclusive MCS Test Kit to enable all installers to meet the electrical test requirements of MCS and BS EN 62446 quickly, easily and safely.

Traditionally, PV installers have brought together various test instruments in order to complete the solar system commissioning tests required by MCS.

Now, the new test kit from Seaward makes the choice of system testing equipment much simpler by combining the multi function PV100 electrical tester with the Solar Survey 100 irradiance meter, a clamp meter and supporting accessories.

In addition to the new test kit, Seaward also supplies the Solar Survey 200 irradiance meter, which has the added benefit of a large internal memory and real-time clock for data logging purposes,

Also available is the Solar Power Clamp which enables power measurement and analysis on AC and DC systems for diagnostic checks.

In addition to these instruments, solar PV test documentation and information for client handover packs can be completed quickly by either the Seaward Solar Cert Elements software package or with the special Seaward Solar inspection test report and certificate documentation packs.
 

New Multi-Function Irradiance Meter

The latest addition to the Seaward Solar test range is a multi-function irradiance meter.

The highly versatile Seaward Solar Survey 100 incorporates a precision PV cell sensor alongside a digital compass, digital tilt meter and high accuracy dual channel thermometer.

As a result this new product is designed for everyday use by solar PV panel contractors and solar thermal installers to carry out site surveys professionally and quickly.

As well as providing highly accurate irradiance readings in either Wm-2 or BTU/h/ft2, the ability to determine roof pitch, site orientation and  and both air and PV module temperatures, means that optimum locations for PV panel installation can be identified easily.

The compact and robust Solar Survey 100 is battery powered and has a display hold feature allowing site readings to be taken in even the most difficult locations.

As such it is an indispensable tool for all involved in solar installation work.

New Solar PV System Documentation Packs

Solar Installation PV100 Test Kit at Kings Cross StationThis field must be completedComprehensive solar inspection test report and certificate documentation packs from Seaward Solar make it easy for installers of solar PV systems to complete the necessary test reports in compliance with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and IEC62446.

Both MCS accreditation and the IEC62446 standard define minimum requirements for solar PV system documentation, commissioning tests and inspection. As such, completion of system documentation is a specific requirement for all solar panel installations to demonstrate that all key tests have been carried out and the appropriate inspections undertaken.

The newly launched Seaward Solar PV Inspection Test Reports and Certificates documentation sets are supplied in pre-printed pad format for the manual entry of test data on-site and form an essential part of the solar PV installation test and inspection process.

Specific Seaward Solar documentation pads are available for PV Inspection Reports, PV Array Reports and PV System Verification Certificates. Each pad includes 25 report sheets, complete with individual carbon copies to enable both the customer and the solar engineer to retain duplicates of all system documentation.

In all cases, not only does the supply of full system documentation provide evidence to the consumer that work has been performed correctly, but completion of the relevant paperwork also acts as a test checklist for an installer to ensure that best practice is followed for the solar installation work being undertaken.

The Seaward Solar PV Inspection Test Reports and Certificates form part of a complete range of solar PV test instrumentation and supporting accessories. The range includes the multifunction Solar PV100 installation tester and the special SolarCert Elements PC software program for the recording of test data.

To find out more information please visit our PV Inspection Test Reports and Certificate pads product page.

New Solar PV Test Documentation Software

New dedicated software program for the solar PV industryA new dedicated software program for the solar PV industry helps system installers produce all electrical test documentation for client handover packs quickly and easily.

The new Seaward SolarCert Elements software is designed to help solar PV installers create comprehensive folders of system information including customised test certification and inspection reports, installation layout diagrams, photographs and any other information relevant to PV installation such as datasheets.

The easy to use software is a manual data entry program that improves the efficiency of solar PV testing by allowing the fast and simple recording, storing and searching of all electrical test and measurements in line with the requirements of many certification schemes and the IEC 62446 standard.

An onboard step-by-step tutorial helps to guide users through the many features and a checklist provides a simple reference point to ensure all required information is included in the client handover pack.

Once entered into the SolarCert Elements program, test data can easily be used to create professional PV array test and system inspection reports as well as verification certificates which can be saved, printed and e-mailed as PDF files.
For multiple installations of a similar nature, information can be quickly transferred from one record to another.

In addition to the automatic production of reports and certificates using dedicated software, Seaward Solar also provides certificate pads for the compilation of written records.

The new SolarCert Elements record keeping program complements the recently introduced Seaward Solar PV100 dedicated multi-function electrical tester for those involved in solar panel installation.

More SolarCert information is available on our solar PV software product page.

A Standard Solution to PV System Safety Fears

News has emerged recently of another situation where concern has been raised over the safety of certain domestic solar PV installations.

On this occasion, in Australia, the NSW Government issued details of a survey of solar PV installations in western Sydney that found that 18.5% of the installations had major defects. Of the 658 systems inspected, 122 were found to have significant safety issues and a further 418 (63.5%) were found to have minor defects.

These findings mirror that of a similar survey last year in France when safety inspectors from the electrical safety certification agency Conseul found that 51% of all PV installations in the country posed a potential safety risk and did not conform to regulations.

As with so many issues in business, shortcomings and errors cannot always be attributed to lack of care and poor workmanship. In reality they are more likely to be the result of inadequate process procedures and documentation.

Solar PV is one of the fastest growing global technologies and it is generally recognised worldwide that the solar industry has developed at a faster rate than the standard-making organisations have been able to keep pace with.

Despite these highlighted problems it appears to have been overlooked in places that an international standard already exists that if incorporated in mandatory national documents would help to eliminate safety and quality issue.

The IEC62446 standard defines the minimum requirements for system documentation, commissioning tests and inspection for PV systems. As such, this standard not only specifies the minimum testing and inspection requirements but equally importantly how the inspection and test results are documented and supplied to the consumer after installation.

In many cases documentation not only provides evidence to the consumer that work has been performed correctly, but it also acts as a check list to an installer and ensures that best practice is followed with the work that is being undertaken.

Various countries including the UK have adopted IEC62446 in their national accreditation schemes and although the standard is not mandatory, it is effectively enforced because no feed-in-tariff will be paid to a consumer unless the installation has been installed by an accredited installer.

A broader understanding and acceptance of IEC62446 would therefore not only help safeguard the future integrity of solar PV installations wherever they are – but would also help allay the concerns that have been raised over the proficiency of the PV installers involved.
 

Kings Cross Station Debut For New Solar Test Technology

Solar Installation PV100 Test Kit at Kings Cross StationNew hand held electrical test instrumentation has been used for the first time as part of the installation of one of the UK’s largest solar panel systems.

Cumbria-based Sundog Energy, one of the UK’s leading providers of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, became the first installer to have the chance to test out the new Seaward Solar Installation PV100 tester as part of its contract with Network Rail to provide a huge solar PV system on the roof of Kings Cross Station in London.

The Kings Cross project is one of the biggest solar PV systems in the UK. The PV cells are integrated into nearly 1,400 glass laminate units that will form part of the new glass roofing structure over the platforms and concourses. The area of roof that will be covered with the solar PV glass laminate is approximately 2,300 square metres.

The new PV100 electrical tester is the first dedicated multi-function tester for solar panel installation. It is capable of carrying out all electrical tests required by IEC 62446 on grid connected PV systems and eliminates the need for multiple test instruments for PV panel electrical installation and connection.

With the push of a single button the new combination tester carries out the required sequence of electrical tests in a safe and controlled manner, avoiding the risk of contact with exposed live DC conductors.

By using it on the Kings Cross contract, Sundog Energy became the first solar installer to utilise the new instrument on a major project. Technical Director Martin Cotterell was impressed with the outcome.

He said: “The Kings Cross station contract is not only a great development for Sundog, it is also a fantastic show-case for solar PV technology."

“ To test the strings of glass-glass PV modules as they are installed on the roof of the station we’ve previously required three bits of test equipment to check the electrical installation. This time round we took just the PV100. We plugged in the leads, pressed the auto button and a few seconds later we had open circuit voltage, short circuit current, insulation resistance and other system measurements."

“The new PV100 makes such a difference to the ease and speed of testing and signals a significant, market-leading advance in PV testing efficiency and safety.”

Work on the Kings Cross PV solar installation began recently and is expected to be completed over a 12 month period.

Sundog Energy is providing the Kings Cross PV system under contract to Kier Construction, the main contractors to Network Rail for parts of the station refurbishment programme.

The roof refurbishment is part of the complex redevelopment of King’s Cross Station. The original Grade 1 listed Victorian train shed and associated buildings are being fully restored by Network Rail working closely with English Heritage and Camden Council. These works include the roof, ticket hall and office buildings.

A new platform was opened in 2010, increasing the station’s capacity for services, and a new concourse is being built to the west of the station. This western concourse is three times the size of the existing space, and will open in good time for the Olympics in 2012. By the end of 2013, the green canopy at the front of the station will have been stripped away, and a new public square created in its place to complete the renovation and reveal the original station behind.

Find out more about the Solar Installation PV100 Test Kit or Email any questions you might have.

Shedding New Light On PV Panel Electrical Testing

Solar Installation PV100 Test KitThe new Solar Installation PV100 from Seaward is the first dedicated multi-function electrical tester for solar panel installation.

The new tester carries out all electrical tests required by IEC 62446 on grid connected PV systems‚ eliminating the need for multiple test instruments for PV panel connection.

With the push of a button the new tester carries out the required sequence of electrical tests in a safe and controlled manner, avoiding the risk of contact with exposed live DC conductors.

Hand held and battery operated for maximum portability‚ the new PV100 comes complete with MC4 and Sunclix test leads for fast and safe connection to all standard PV modules and arrays to test earth continuity‚ insulation resistance‚ open circuit voltage and short circuit currents.

All required measurements are performed automatically and displayed clearly with confirmation of whether the test results are acceptable. The instrument will also compare the performance of multiple strings and indicate whether the open circuit voltage or short circuit current measurements deviate by more than 5%.

An AC/DC current clamp is provided for the measurement of operation currents and the complete test kit, including all test probes‚ alligator clips and adaptor leads is supplied in a convenient carrying case.

A special SolarCert Elements manual entry PC software program is also available for the recording of test data and the production of professional inspection reports and test certificates.

PV100 test features:

  • Earth continuity measurement with lead null for test leads up to 10Ω
  • PV string open circuit voltage measurement up to 1000V DC
  • Automatic indication of incorrect voltage polarity with audible and visual warning
  • PV string short circuit current measurement up to 10A DC
  • PV array insulation test at 250/500/1000V
  • Store up to 9 sets of measurement for string to string comparison
  • Visual indication when string voltage/current measurements deviate by >5%
  • Operational test up to 40A (using Solar AC/DC current clamp)

PV100 Solar Instalation Test kit comprises:

  • Seaward Solar PV100 Tester
  • 2 x 4mm test probes
  • 2 x alligator clips
  • 2 x MC4 test leads
  • 2 x Sunclix test leads
  • AC/DC Current Clamp
  • Carry case
  • Calibration certificate
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Support CD-Rom including instructional video

Find out more about the Solar Installation PV100 Test Kit or Email any questions you might have.