As the months slide past and we edge closer to the December 18 deadline for the introduction of the new Inverter Requirements standard AS/NZS 4777.2:2020, some manufacturers are concerned there will be bottlenecks and possible delays for re-listing products with the CEC.
Ninety-five per cent of the currently listed inverters are affected, representing just over 1200 model numbers, the Clean Energy Council’s CEO Kane Thornton told RenewEconomy.
“This highlights the importance of prioritising the testing process, and we’ve been actively communicating this to industry for the last six months,” Thornton said.
“As of today there’s not a single inverter that has been tested and listed with the CEC under this new standard,” added James Sturch, the technical director RoW (rest of world) at SolarEdge. “Most manufacturers I’ve spoken to don’t expect to be able to apply for CEC listing until October.
“I think it’ll take the CEC about 10 weeks or so to cover all these products. Then the labs might not have the capacity, they might have a 10-20 week lead time. There are only about 20 labs globally that can do this,” Sturch said.
“We have to create beta products, test them, prove they work – then you book a test lab. Once you have the product through the lab testing you then get the technical documentation and manuals produced and checked. After that you can apply for listing with the CEC.
“At the same time the CEC has also amended their products category listing matrix, making it even more complicated for a manufacturer to list products.”
Rod Dewar, Solutions Manager at Fronius says that the 12 month time frame from the initial announcement is typical but certainly tight. Fronius has an internal deadline to lodge with the CEC 4-6 weeks prior to the deadline and he says they are on track to meet this.
“We may be able to do it earlier but there can always be an issue with the certifier or the test lab that can hold things up,” he said.
It’s been suggested that some products may already be compliant with the new standard because of the short disturbance under voltage ride through rules (VDRT) introduced in South Australia last year, but Dewar says the requirements are quite different.
“None of our products are already compliant. The VDRT requirement in the new standard is much harsher than in South Australia. And there’s plenty of new things in the new standard in terms of power quality mode responses, voltage and frequency, and also the recovery time.”
Dewar sees the potential for delays to system applications to the DNSP if the product is not in the drop down menu.
“If the CEC can’t do their due diligence fast enough then the product will drop off the list and people can’t install. There’s usually a 1-2 month lag between the application and installation,” he said.
“It would be a nightmare to choose the wrong inverter just to get it going and then have to go back and get it changed to your preferred inverter.
“The synchronisation between the CEC listing and the DNSP list happens about every week. That frequency will have to be increased.”
The CEC’s Thornton agreed that there was a potential for bottlenecks across the entire process and said the CEC was actively considering ways to alleviate the impacts.
“The Clean Energy Council continuously monitors our internal resources to ensure we can fulfil our role both to industry and consumers,” he said.
Read more on the changes to Inverter Requirements standard AS/NZS 4777.2:2020.