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Solar power market is set for 2023 upswing

WITH the solar power sector expected to rise sharply throughout 2023, installation and testing engineers will need access to the best tools to work at optimum efficiency and safety.

As the world makes its unstoppable transition to renewable energy sources, the global solar energy market is predicted to have grown by around 20.5% to reach R406.5bn between 2019 and 2026 (Allied Market Research). Engineers need to be ready.

Fluke, locally represented by COMTEST, a global technology manufacture of compact, professional electronic test and measurement tools and software, says that the top five tools engineers will need – whether working on residential systems, solar farms or photovoltaic (PV) farms – are:

  • a Multifunction PV Tester
  • solar irradiance meter
  • insulation tester
  • infrared camera (thermal imager)
  • solar clamp meter (DC & AC true RMS)

These will all help to improve accuracy and efficiency during installation or periodic maintenance, including checking the integrity of system wiring and connections while keeping accurate measurement records. 

Instantaneous measurements

A Multifunction PV tester enables solar professionals to test PV systems safely and accurately while streamlining workflows faster than ever. Flukes recently released SMFT-1000 Multifunction PV Tester is an all-in-one tool that’s ideal for safety and performance testing of installations that operate up to 1 000 V DC. 

Solar irradiance meters measure solar irradiance, PV module temperature, array orientation and tilt angles. Fluke’s award-winning IRR1-SOL Solar Irradiance Meter operates in accordance with the IEC 62446-1 standard. It enables engineers to take instantaneous measurements to determine Watts per square meter of solar irradiation. 

An insulation tester makes it possible to quickly detect earth leakage problems by comparing measurements over time and allowing real-time decisions in the field. The 1587 FC Insulation Multimeter from Fluke enables engineers to monitor measurements remotely, accessing and sharing insulation resistance test results wirelessly with their smartphone via the Fluke Connect Measurements app. 

Space at a premium

Solar clamp meters measure DC and AC currents. Fluke’s 393 FC Solar clamp meter – the world’s first 1 500V CAT III, IP54 rated, thin jaw clamp meter – is designed to deliver exceptional safety when working in DC environments up to 1 500V, such as solar arrays. The clamp meter’s thin jaw makes it ideal for PV applications where space is often premium. 

Hans-Dieter Schuessele, Application & Technology Expert at Fluke, said, “Countries worldwide are dealing with the dual pressures of climate change and reliable power sources. Renewable energy is an obvious solution that we believe will gain even greater traction throughout 2023 and years to come. Fluke has always supported the solar sector and dedicated itself to developing ground-breaking tools for PV installation and maintenance engineers. We want them to be fully prepared for growth in this market. Only by having the best tools possible at their disposal can engineers in this demanding sector work at optimum efficiency and maximum safety.” 

As a global technology leader in manufacturing compact, professional electronic test and measurement tools and software, Fluke has developed various solutions by working closely with electricians, technicians and specialists in photovoltaic (PV) systems. For many years, the company has recognised that the PV sector has specific requirements that demand the use of specialised tools in such areas as surveying, installing and maintenance. 

Contact COMTEST on + 010 595 1821, or for more information.

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