We revised the Quality Standards for solar home system (SHS) kits and will begin using these new standards immediately. The new version now allows SHS kits that include non-plug-and-play connectors (such as screw terminals and binding posts) to undergo testing and participate in the Lighting Global program.
To qualify, the products must still be sold as kits – component-based systems that are custom-designed do not qualify. Additionally, the non-plug-and-play connections are limited to connections that are made at the time of installation (i.e., the connections should only need to be made once). The type of connectors are limited to connections that are straightforward to make and make a good connection. The following connectors are not allowed: alligator clips, soldered connections, twist-on wire connectors, and connections that require wrapping a wire.
Along with this major change, we made a few other smaller changes in the new version of the SHS Kit Quality Standards. Those changes are as follows:
- Changed the suggested threshold between pico-PV and SHS kits to 10 W to match our current practices. Now that all products are tested to IEC/TS 62257-9-5, we have decided to phase out the 11-15 W window in which a product could be tested as either a pico-PV or SHS kit. If products between 11-15 W need to be evaluated as pico-PV products to meet an outside requirement, an additional two samples may be evaluated during testing.
- Stated that the test methods for SHS kits are now included in IEC/TS 62257-9-5
- Added options for meeting the safety requirement for lithium-based batteries. Companies must provide proof that batteries meet any one of the following standards: IEC 62281, IEC 62133-2, UL 1642 or UN 38.3.
- Increased the voltage threshold for the PV Overvoltage Protection test for USB ports to 6 V based on additional research and manufacturer feedback.
- Clarified that some reporting requirements may be included on a user agreement in cases where companies exclusively install products and do not have consumer-facing packaging.
- Changed the statement about capacity retention for the battery warranty to: “The battery warranty is assumed to include a capacity retention figure of at least 80% at two years, benchmarked to the advertised battery capacity and/or the battery capacity presented in the Lighting Global test report, whichever is higher.”
- Revised the wording of the ports requirements for added clarity. Added a description of how to determine if a port should be considered a 12 V port, removed the requirement to label ports if they drop below 10.5 V, and added an option for a second USB port to provide a higher voltage, up to 6 V. These are all changes designed to address issues we have identified during testing.
- Clarified that if a product offers pay-as-you-go (PAYG) functionality, the company must provide the user with written instructions on operating the PAYG system.
If you have questions or comments on the revised SHS Kit Quality Standards, please contact email@example.com.
Please know that as announced last month, we are still planning on making major changes to the Quality Standards for Pico-PV products on December 1, 2018. We will post a draft of those new standards soon to enable companies to prepare for these upcoming changes.