South Africa Approves new Standards for Solar PV Embedded Generation

  • Owners of small commercial and embedded generation, such as roof-top solar power systems, now have clearer guidelines for connecting to the distribution grid. 
  • The newly completed standards and guidelines apply to commercial installations up to 1MW, as well as support the safe operation of DERs for consumers, installers and grid operators.
  • The standards also address the need for DERs to support grid reliability in case of events such as storms or accidents that cause unplanned outages.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has approved new standards developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and written with help from PEC Engineers, a subsidiary of POWER Engineers Incorporated (POWER) applicable for commercial solar PV installations of up to 1MW.

Embedded power generation installations, also known as distributed energy resources (DER), are a growing subject of discussion worldwide. The energy landscape is shifting from centralised power plants to decentralised generation, including residential and industrial generating sources.

When these systems are connected to the larger grid they can make it unstable, cause outages or pose safety risks to people. These systems previously weren’t regulated by a national standard in the country.

After stakeholders indicated a lack of clearly defined rules to follow for DER, South Africa’s CSIR called on POWER to help develop the standards and guidelines.The CSIR is an institution that undertakes research and technology innovation to improve the quality of life of South Africans. POWER also developed training materials and is assisting with training to ensure the dissemination of the new standards to the South African market.

Embedded generation to support grid reliability

The completed standards and guidelines apply to commercial installations up to 1MW, as well as support the safe operation of DERs for consumers, installers and grid operators.

The standards also address the need for DERs to support grid reliability in case of events such as storms or accidents that cause unplanned outages.

The final document includes a wiring code, utility interface and implementation guidelines that reflect global best practices.

The standard is titled: SANS 10142-1-2, The wiring of premises – Part 1-2: Additional special requirements for low voltage small scale embedded generator installations connected in parallel to the normal electrical supply.

POWER brings to the project extensive experience in DERs and in assessing existing standards, specifications and work practices, comparing those with industry standards and developing new and updated standards

Author: Babalwa Bungane

This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission with minor editorial changes.

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