Italy: New rules for PV system component replacement - exchange of solar modules may increase performance
The authorities responsible for the processing of the solar power supply in Italy, the Servici Energetici (GSE), has finally published the regulations for the exchange of defective system components. The New Energy Projects consultancy in Munich, which specializes in the Italian photovoltaic market, shares this view. The plant operators have already been waiting for more than a year for the concrete definition of the regulations since July 2015.
Increase performance up to five percent
The central component of the now published Decree "Impianti fotovoltaici in esercizio Interventi di manutenzione e ammodernamento tecnologico" is the regulation that the exchange of defective modules may increase the original plant output. If the power of the generator was once up to 20 kilowatts, it could increase by up to five percent by replacing defective modules. For systems with a capacity of more than 20 kilowatts, the increase in power that may result from the replacement of modules is limited to one percent. In doing so, the system operator must ensure that the modules, which he reinstates instead of the defective panels, comply with the regulations of Conto Energia 5. Only in exceptional cases it is sufficient if they comply with the Conto Enerrgias, that funded the system.
Inverter replacement – compliance with current standards
This regulation also applies if inverters are to be replaced. In the case of the exchange of power electronics, the system operator must also ensure that the current industrial standards as well as the currently applicable connection conditions as prescribed by the Authority for Electricity, Gas and Water Supply (Autorità per l'Energia Elettrica, il Gas e il Sistema Idrico) are complied with. In addition, the new inverters must comply with the current operating regulations of the network operators.
Reporting deadline of 60 days
The exchange of modules must be communicated to the GSE within 60 days after completion of the repair work, unless the plant is smaller than three kilowatts. The exchange of all other components can be communicated. However, it is recommended to make any changes to the generator of the GSE. The necessary forms are attached to the decree. The authority wants to have all the data of the components including the data on the type plate. The decree also contains provisions for the temporary exchange of modules and changes in the electrical configuration of the system as well as the mains connection. It also prescribes how changes to building-integrated systems have to be dealt with and also sets the rules for the repowering of the plants
With the publication of the Decree, the phase of uncertainty among the operators of solar plants in Italy ends. "Compliance with the rules is very important in the event of changes to existing photovoltaic plants so that the subsidy tariff is not canceled or reduced," emphasizes Andreas Lutz, Managing Director of New Energy Project. (SU/HCN)
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