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Certification, News

Spain: Stakeholder Platform Solplat to Promote New Applications

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 14, 2017
SolplatOn 4 October 2017, the Spanish Ministry of Economy hosted the first general meeting of the newly created Technology Platform on Low Temperature Solar Thermal, Solplat. Funded by the ministry and promoted by Spain’s solar association ASIT, the umbrella platform was created to help companies, public authorities and universities support and improve segments which have seen fairly little market penetration to date. Examples are district heating, solar process heat and Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs).
 

Egypt and Jordan: SHAMCI to Give New Impetus to Arab Markets

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 13, 2017
SHAMCI Workshop May 2017The implementation of SHAMCI, the Solar Heating Arab Mark and Certification Initiative, could help expand the solar thermal market in both Egypt and Jordan. On 15 and 16 May 2017, a workshop held at the headquarters of RCREEE (Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) and on the premises of NREA (New and Renewable Energy Authority of Egypt) in Cairo offered experts, market observers and stakeholders from both countries a platform to discuss requirements for implementing SHAMCI at national level. Solarthermalworld.org spoke to Lotus Shaheen, who works at SHAMCI’s secretariat, about the results of the workshop and the next steps by the regional initiative.
Photo: RCREEE
 

Switzerland: Rising Interest in PVT Technologies

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on June 1, 2017
PVT CaotecThe Swiss-based SPF - Institute of Solar Technology has recently published a report on behalf of EnergieSchweiz, a programme by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, about the market situation of PV-thermal technologies (PVT) in Switzerland and across all of Europe (see attached document in German). The researchers from SPF have found that there are various market-ready and proven products available. They counted around 300 PVT installations in Switzerland alone. A particularly good example is shown on the photo: a PVT installation integrated into the facade of an office building. 
Photo: Caotec
 

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
 

South Africa: Online Qualified Energy Service Company Register

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 25, 2017
LogosThe South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) in collaboration with the Department of Energy and the South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN) implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is building up an online register of Energy Service Companies (ESCO register). Since the register portal’s launch in November 2016, about 40 ESCOS have registered, which are currently reviewed. The aim is that the register assists the public and private sector in identifying, designing, developing, financing and implementing co-generation or energy efficiency and demand side management projects in buildings, for street lighting or the water infrastructure. 
 

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.
 

Global Solar Certification Network: Facilitating International High-Quality Collector Trade

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 29, 2016
GSCN partnersThe recent approval of Working Rules means that the Global Solar Certification Network (GSCN) can now accept membership applications. The reuse of test and inspection reports in different certification schemes will be possible at the beginning of 2017. The GSCN was developed in Task 43 of the IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme to facilitate the cross-border trade of high-quality solar thermal products. The world map shows all the certification schemes which are already on their way into the GSCN – and more are said to follow soon. GSCN industry members can use a collector test report or a production inspection report from one of these schemes to apply for a certificate in another part of the world which is also part of GSCN. The procedure saves manufacturers time and money by removing the need for collector retesting or a second site inspection.
Map: GSCN
 

Denmark/Sweden: Arcon-Sunmark Collector Retesting Prompts Discussion on Solar Keymark Network Rules

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 16, 2016
This July, SP issued new Solar Keymark certificates for four Danish Arcon-Sunmark collectors after the Swedish test lab and certification body had retested these four systems in April. The retesting had been necessary, as SP had received six complaints because of a lower-than-expected c1 (heat loss coefficient) value on certificates issued in November 2015. At first, it looked like a case closed, but the stakeholders who submitted complaints are now calling for a reform of the complaint procedures and tolerances established by the Solar Keymark Network (SKN). 
 

China, India and USA: Study Recommends Policies for Energy-Efficient Water Heaters

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on April 18, 2016
ClaspA study by US non-profit organisation Clasp, British management consultancy Waide Strategic Efficiency and other partners has analysed the market potential of efficient water heater technology, among them solar thermal systems and heat pumps in China, India and the USA. The 176-page document Policy Opportunities for More Efficient Residential Water Heating shows the key differences between markets and policies and gives advice on policy measures to reduce the energy consumption of water heaters. One central recommendation is to implement energy efficiency labels, which would allow customers to compare different water heater technologies. No such labelling has been in place yet in any of the three countries. The chart shows the Chinese energy label, which is only used for gas combi boilers, the Indian label for electric storage water heaters and the US label for gas-storage water heaters. 
Figure: Clasp
 

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. 
 

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