The International Copper Association India (ICA India) and the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) hosted a roundtable on “Quality Control Order (QCO) mandates for Solar DC Cables“, on January 11, 2024, in New Delhi to discuss and identify challenges related to the adoption of the Solar DC Cable Standard.

The round table aimed to discuss challenges experienced in the adoption of the mandatory Solar DC Cable Standard, as prescribed by the Quality Control Order, throughout the planning, design, and installation phases of Solar PV systems. Additionally, it called for collaborative efforts among industry stakeholders to propose viable solutions to these challenges, intending to present these recommendations to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

By fostering collaboration among stakeholders across the industry – including manufacturers, installers, and regulatory bodies – the roundtable set the stage for collective advocacy and action. This effort has marked a significant step forward in promoting a safer, more reliable, and sustainable future.

Dr. Ashish Kumar, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said, “The objective behind QC was to introduce quality into the Indian manufacturer system. When the standards are released, they are voluntary; it is up to the manufacturer whether to use the ISI mark on their product. Because of the QC, the imports of substandard products also get restricted, creating an awareness amongst buyers. There is an urgent need to maintain quality, particularly in products where safety is most important.”

Shri Ashok Kumar Rajput, Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) said, “There is a need for Quality Control awareness programs at all levels and to focus on the wellness and promotion of Quality Control Order. Addressing the issue of poor quality and substandard materials in solar DC cables is critical for safety. While material availability and timely supply are a concern, other insulation materials could be recycled with the help of R&D in addition to copper, which is already highly recyclable.”

Solar DC Cables are crucial part of solar PV systems, responsible for transmitting the direct current generated by photovoltaic panels to the inverter and subsequently into the electrical grid. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have witnessed remarkable growth and adoption in India as an eco-friendly and cost-effective source of sustainable energy. However, the efficiency of solar PV systems is reliant on a number of factors, including the quality and safety of its components, with Solar DC Cables being a critical element.

The use of non-standard Solar DC Cables poses severe safety hazards, adversely impact system performance and lead to costly maintenance and repairs. To address these concerns and uphold the safety and reliability of these systems, regulatory authorities have mandated Solar DC Cables standards through Quality Control Order (QCOs).

While there are established quality product and installation standards, there is a notable opportunity to enhance awareness in the solar PV industry. This gap has led to the continued use of non-compliant or substandard material, posing risks to the environment, property, and public safety. Furthermore, it has the potential to impede the long-term success and adoption of solar energy. It is imperative to bridge this gap by raising awareness about the importance of using standard-compliant Solar DC Cables.

The roundtable was attended by eminent industry leaders and government officials including Mr. Chaitanya Kumar Varma, Former Special Director General, Region Chennai at Central Public Works Department (CPWD) Government of India, Dr. Ashish Kumar, Senior Consultant at Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India, Mr. Ashok Kumar Rajput, Member (Power Systems) Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Government of India (CEA), Mr. Manas Kundu, Advisor (Energy Regulatory Affairs) at International Copper Association India (ICA India), among others. The audience comprised of cable manufacturers and solar power project developers.

About ICA India (International Copper Association)

The International Copper Association India (ICA India) is a member of Copper Alliance and the Indian arm of the International Copper Association Limited (ICA), the leading not for profit organization for the promotion of copper worldwide set up in 1959. ICA has been operating since 1998 in India and has built an active association with the growing number of copper users through its programs. ICA India Programs are committed to improving the quality of life through better Electrical Safety, Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Sustainability. ICA India’s efforts have been pivotal to advancing better standards, across various products, applications and industries, by leveraging upon the superior technical performance of Copper.

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