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Certification, Europe

EU labelling: “Solar devices to be classified as heaters”

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2018
Image: Solar Heating InitiativeThe German-based Solar Heating Initiative has developed a new calculation method to label solar thermal systems based on the Ecodesign Directive 2005/32/EC. It put the method, which allows for a fair assessment of solar thermal energy input into a heating system, forward for consideration in February, at a stakeholder meeting organised by Dutch-based consultancy Van Holsteijn en Kemna, also known as VHK. Together with BRG Building Solutions, the company has been appointed by the European Commission to carry out a review of the eco-design and labelling regulations on water heaters and tanks.
Image: Solar Heating Initiative

Three labels in Europe – what are the differences?

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 22, 2018
collector labels Solergy (left) and Solar Keymark (centre top) as well as the EU Energy Efficiency label (right)Labels and trademarks should give the end-consumer a clear feedback on the quality and performance of the labelled product. Currently there are three labels available for solar products or solar assisted heating systems in Europe, so there is an increasing need to explain the differences to market players as well as customers. The chart above shows the two voluntary collector labels Solergy (left) and Solar Keymark (centre top) as well as the EU Energy Efficiency label (right) which is obligatory for water, space and combi heaters under the Energy Labelling (ELD) and the Ecodesign (EDD) Directives  since September 2015. 

Global certification saves money and time

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 18, 2018
To enter new markets, solar thermal collector manufacturers need to have their products tested and certified as meeting local standards. Thanks to GSCN, the Global Solar Certification Network, they can complete several certification processes with only one test cycle. “A collector manufacturer can save a lot of time and money because its collector test report from one region will be accepted to receive a certificate in another region,” GSCN Manager Jan Erik Nielsen from Denmark said in an interview with solarthermalworld.org. 
 

Europe: Comparing Solar Keymark Data on Collectors with Foil or Double Glass Cover to Ones Without

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 3, 2017
KBB large-scale collectorDenmark’s success story in solar district heating, with 2016 having been another record year which almost doubled newly installed collector area to around 500,000 m², showcases the large potential of this type of application across Europe. Cost cuts in the supply chain are key: Two vital factors are fast installation and less hydraulic work on site. The answer by manufacturers to these challenges has been to design large-scale prefabricated collectors. Suppliers of vacuum tube collectors offer modular designs for easy mounting of collectors above 10 m²; large flat plate versions come as one piece and certified by Solar Keymark. The yearly market surveys by German magazine Sonne Wind & Wärme show that the number of certified flat plate collector panels above 10 m² of gross collector area has increased in Europe in recent years. As of 29 March 2017, the magazine’s online collector database listed 62 models from eight brands compared to 20 types of collectors in October 2015.
Photo: KBB
 

Europe: Solar Keymark Network Approves New Complaint Procedures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 16, 2016
SKN Complaint ProceduresThe Solar Keymark Network (SKN) discussed and approved new complaint procedures during its most recent meeting on the Greek island of Crete in mid-October 2016. Action had to be taken, as the first series of complaints filed in late 2015 against Swedish test lab SP about the certificates of Danish collector manufacturer Arcon-Sunmark was not resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The results of the October meeting are described in a publicly available draft of the minutes on the SKN webpage.
 

Certification – A Marketing Tool for Solar Thermal Energy Professionals

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 11, 2016
To have a solar thermal system on the roof of one’s home may be a good thing if it does work well. But the probability that solar water heaters perform as they should and as long as they are supposed to is higher when they are installed by real experts familiar with the best practices of the industry. But how is one to know whether an installer is a real professional? Certification may be a viable indicator of whether or not a plumber can be trusted with installing a modern solar thermal system. That is why certification is gaining importance not only in manufacturing, but also in other parts of the industry. 
 

Europe: Solar Keymark Network to Improve Complaint Procedures

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on March 31, 2016
The Solar Keymark Network has decided to establish a working group in order to revise and improve the complaint procedures and put them into one document, as they have so far been described in several different papers and various articles: The Solar Keymark Scheme Rules, Article 2.2, includes instructions on how to handle complaints and there is Article 6.3. Special Test, whereas the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations Part 4, Article 7.4, describes the appeal procedures (see the attached documents). This move is deemed necessary because at the end of 2015 – for the first time since the Solar Keymark label was launched – several complaints were submitted to one of the empowered certification bodies. “In our network meeting, we informed the members about the first big complaint and discussed the need for putting the complaint procedures into one document, to make it clearer for the solar thermal industry how to use them,” said Jaime Fernández González-Granda, Chairman of the Solar Keymark Network and Product Officer at the Spanish certification and standardisation body, AENOR. 
 

Solergy Collector Label: EU Commission Confirms Clear Distinction from Energy Labelling

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on December 28, 2015
The implementation of voluntary collector label Solergy will enter into the second phase in 2016. The European Commission has confirmed that there was no likelihood of confusing the voluntary mark with the official energy labelling stipulated since September 2015 for heating devices across Europe, the Steering Committee of the Solar Heating Initiative said in a letter sent to selected stakeholders in the middle of December. The letter went on to explain that it would now be the responsibility of DIN Certco, the German certification body, to issue Solergy labels officially and register the certificates in an online database. During the first phase in the second half of 2015, it had been Stefan Abrecht, the initiator of the voluntary collector label and General Manager of German company Solar Experience, who had issued the certificates.
 

European Energy Labelling: Solar Manufacturers Have Doubts

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 27, 2015
Solrico energy labellingThere is great scepticism among Europe’s solar thermal collector manufacturers about whether or not the energy labelling will increase demand for solar thermal systems. In a survey carried out by German agency solrico, more than 50 % of the European solar thermal manufacturers disagreed with the statement “The energy labelling will foster your solar sales”. All in all, 158 solar collector and solar tank manufacturers in Europe answered the multiple-choice question (Do you agree with the following statement – The energy labelling will foster your solar sales?) by ticking one of five answers: strongly agree, agree, tend to agree, disagree and strongly disagree. The chart shows the results at national level. The figures in brackets display the number of valid answers from each country.
Chart: solrico
 

Europe: 10 Years of Solar Keymark – 1,600 Collector and 220 System Certificates

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 27, 2014
Solar Keymark statisticAt the beginning of June, the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation celebrated the 10th anniversary of Solar Keymark at its Intersolar Europe booth in Munich, Germany. Solar Keymark is a well-established certification scheme and label all across Europe and has been viewed as an exemplary model by countries and regions outside Europe as well. Today, there are around 1,600 different certified collectors and about 220 solar thermal systems, all listed in an online database. The chart shows the countries with the highest number of certificates for locally produced or locally offered collectors. China ranks third with 162 Solar Keymark collectors, after Germany (425) and Austria (211). 16 % of the collectors come from outside the 28 EU countries and Switzerland. 
Figure: Solar Keymark 
 

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