Standards, codes of practice and policy

Codes of practices guide the installation methods, choice of materials, workmanship and system maintenance, ensuring a long and safe lifetime for PV power systems. They provide the criteria by which systems can be inspected to ensure sustainable and safe operation.

The following codes of practice and lists of pre-qualified products are available:

International Electro-technical Commission (IEC)

The IEC has developed (and continues to improve) a set of comprehensive standards for solar photovoltaic energy systems. This is done by Technical Committee 88.

www. iec. ch/zone/renergy/ren_standardization. htm

Global Approval Program for Photovoltaics (PV-GAP)

PV GAP is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of internationally accepted standards, quality management processes and organizational training in PV standards and quality. Products which bear the Photovoltaic Global Approval Program (PV GAP) Seal have been tested in an acceptable manner. PV-GAP has done extensive work on small off-grid PV systems. www. pvgap. org

World Bank-assisted projects

World Bank-assisted projects have developed standards and pre-qualified equipment for small off-grid PV systems. See the following:

• World Bank Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Unit. www. worldbank. org/astae

• Sri Lanka Energy Renewable Energy for Rural Economic Development Project. www. energyservices. lk

• Golden Sun quality mark is issued by the China General Certification Center. For list of qualified products. www. cgc. org. cn

• Bangladesh Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project. For list of qualified products. www. idcol. org

• Bolivia Decentralized Infrastructure for Rural Transformation Project. www. idtr. gov. bo

Australian National Standards

Standards in the AS 4509 Stand-alone power systems series comprise:

• AS 4509.1-1999 Stand-alone power systems Part 1: Safety requirements.

• AS 4509.2-2002 Stand-alone power systems Part 2: System design guidelines.

• AS 4509.1-1999 Stand-alone power systems Part 3: Installation and maintenance.

This family of standards is for use by owners, designers, installers and users of stand-alone power systems. It was developed in response to concerns from the renewable energy industry and regulators over the poor design and installation of renewable energy powered stand-alone systems. For information go to www. standards. org. au.


The list of commercially available equipment below is, as mentioned previously, not intended to be comprehensive or an endorsement of the products. It is designed to give the reader a start in the world of off-grid PV. Many of the companies mentioned supply a range of products, for example modules, lamps and charge controllers, so be sure to check all the lists when researching.

Make sure that you know what you are getting. Read the appropriate chapter before making purchase decisions. Always use products suitable for off-grid applications, not equipment designed for grid connect applications – sometimes the terminology can be confusing. If in doubt, explain clearly to the supplier the type of system the product is going to be used in.

Solar PV Modules

Solar companies are constantly changing and updating their products, and many companies have been changing their product lines to address on-grid

markets only. This list contains PV companies that have a strong 12V DC product line.





Wide range of grid-connect and off-grid solar products

www. suntech-power. com

Sharp Solar

Wide range of grid-connect and off-grid solar products

www. sharp-solar. com

BP Solar

Wide range of grid-connect and off-grid solar products

www. bpsolar. com

Kyocera Solar

Polycrystalline modules for on and off-grid applications

www. kyocerasolar. com

Evergreen Solar

Ribbon-type solar cell modules

www. evergreensolar. com


Wide range of grid-connect and off-grid solar products

www. photowatt. com


Wide range of off-grid and on-grid modules

www. solarworld. de

Free Energy Europe

Amorphous modules for 12V DC applications

www. freeenergyeurope. com


Read Chapter 4 on batteries carefully before selecting the units you will use. Remember, for small systems (>100 Wp) it is often cheaper and easier to select a local modified SLI battery than to import an expensive battery from a distant location. The companies listed below supply high quality deep discharge batteries that are useful in larger solar PV systems.


Country of origin



MK Battery Deka Solar


Gel/AGM and flooded batteries

www. eastpenn-deka. com

Exide Technologies

USA, worldwide

Wide variety of lead-acid batteries

www. exide. com



Wide variety of lead-acid batteries

www. enersysmp. com

Power Battery


Flooded, AGM, gel batteries

www. powerbattery. com



Deep cycle batteries

www. surrette. com

Trojan Battery


Flat plate, gel, AGM batteries

www. trojanbattery. com

Hoppecke batteries


Deep cycle batteries

www. hoppecke. com



Deep cycle, AGM batteries

www. sonnenschein. org

Elecsol Batteries


Various leisure and solar batteries

www. elecsolbatteries. com

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