The need for properly designed and installed PV facilities is crucial to minimizing risk of system failures and maximizing performance. Advanced Energy offers its independent engineering PV support services to provide the security and reassurance you need. When it comes to PV facilities, we are more than just a third-party resource. We are your PV partner. Our position as an independent engineering services provider allows us to analyze your system with a fresh perspective and unbiased approach. We take the time to collaborate with your team from conception to installation and beyond. Our PV support services range from onsite assessments to independent commissioning to providing data for owners, developers and utilities to make important business decisions. From roof and ground-mount configurations, to facilities ranging in size from 50 kW to 80 MW or greater, we have the knowledge, expertise and experience you can depend on. Following are descriptions of several ways Advanced Energy can help support you and your PV systems.
Advanced Energy can help ensure your PV facility meets utility interconnection requirements by performing an assessment of AC interconnection equipment. Advanced Energy will review select documentation of the PV facility, such as single-line diagrams, utility-specific documents, interconnection applications, etc. Advanced Energy will then conduct an onsite assessment of the PV facility to determine whether inverters, transformers and interconnection equipment installed agree with the documentation filed with the utility; determine inverter and recloser interconnection protection settings; determine whether the transformer vector group and grounding are in compliance with inverter requirements; and identify any other areas of concern with the AC interconnection equipment. Findings from the assessment will be presented in a summary report.
Advanced Energy will provide you with confidence that your PV facility is performing as expected. An equipment and performance spot check begins with a review of select documentation of the facility, such as commissioning reports, independent engineering reports, drawings/schematics, etc. Following the documentation review, Advanced Energy will perform an onsite visual survey of the PV modules, racks, combiner boxes, DC disconnects, inverters, AC disconnects, transformers, monitoring systems and meters to determine that the appropriate equipment is installed correctly and is fully functional. Advanced Energy will also conduct a performance spot check on the PV facility to determine it is capable of generating its rated capacity. All findings from the equipment and performance spot check will be presented in a summary report.
Advanced Energy’s high-level quality assessment helps protect your investment by ensuring the PV facility is designed and built to a good quality standard. The quality assessment includes a cursory design review and onsite assessment of the PV facility to evaluate good design practice and construction quality. The assessment is primarily based on the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Other codes, standards and specifications may be consulted as needed. Advanced Energy will review the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor’s design drawings to become familiar with the design and assess its general appropriateness. The design review will also identify any significant departures from normal industry practice. The high-level onsite assessment will inspect a sample of each type of equipment and wiring methods throughout the solar facility. All findings from this assessment will be presented in a summary report.
The detailed quality assessment goes deeper than the high-level quality assessment to ensure all aspects of the PV installation are in accordance with the approved system design, the NEC and accepted industry practices. The system wide quality assessment identifies system components that are noncompliant with the NEC, as well as highlights issues that may impact long-term system operation, maintenance and safety. The onsite assessment includes a review of all electrical components, such as:
- Service Equipment
- AC Disconnects
- AC Conductors
- DC Conductors
- DC Disconnects
- Equipment Grounding Conductors
- Circuit Breakers
- Array Mounting Structure
- PV Modules
- Array Combiners
- Combiner Boxes
- Grounding Electrode System
- Array Grounding Equipment
- PV Monitoring System
- Plaques and Labels
During the assessment, our engineers will be available to answer questions and provide clarification to personnel regarding code compliance issues and/or system modifications. Following the assessment, Advanced Energy engineers will conduct research and code verification and issue a detailed quality assessment report. The report will identify electrical code violations and installation changes necessary to bring the system into NEC compliance. The report will detail each issue, its location, NEC reference, photograph(s), explanation of the code violation or issue and a suggested correction. The detailed quality assessment provides a thorough review of the PV facility and not only gives you confidence in a particular site, but can help improve quality in your future PV installations.
Advanced Energy believes the purpose of commissioning is to ensure each PV facility is safe, provides optimum performance and is reliable for the life of the system. Advanced Energy’s full approach to commissioning is to:
- Prior to construction, conduct a design review of the EPC contractor’s design drawings to identify NEC compliance issues before they are a problem
- Provide detailed commissioning test procedures and sample documentation to the EPC contractor for use in their system commissioning
- Conduct periodic onsite assessments of the quality of the PV facility installation during construction at the 25, 50 and 75 percent interval stages
- Witness representative samples of EPC contractor commissioning tests such as insulation resistance testing, IV curve tracing and torqueing conductor terminations
- Review EPC contractor commissioning test results and documentation for quality, accuracy and completeness
- Work with the EPC contractor to resolve any deficiencies in the commissioning
- Conduct a post-construction quality assessment to ensure the as-built system complies with the NEC and optimal design and installation practices
- Work with the EPC contractor to resolve any deficiencies in Code compliance or optimal installation practices
- Work with customer to identify and recommend areas of improvement for the commissioning and quality assessment process