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Certification

Germany: Fraunhofer ISE’s New Climate Test Stand

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on January 16, 2013

At the end of November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE started its new test stand for solar thermal collectors. Using this test stand, the scientists aim to simulate mechanical loads under extreme climatic conditions, e.g., wind or snow, and analyse their effects on the solar collectors. The test stand is part of the MechTest project, which has been running at the Fraunhofer ISE with support from the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) since 2010. The scientists hope that the project will be able to determine the mechanical stresses put on solar collectors and their mounting systems by wind and snow in order to develop quality assurance systems based on these results.
Photo: Stephanie Banse

Italy: Conference Highlights Installers’ Key Qualification Issues

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 15, 2012

Held in Rome in September 2012, the conference “Qualification and Certification of Skills for Those Working in the Energy Sector” was the ideal platform to outline and debate which qualifications and certifications are necessary for installers of small-scale renewable energy systems, including solar thermal. The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA, had organised the conference because time is running out: the implementation date is the 31 December of this year. By this date, the Italian regions must have launched “a training programme for installers of renewable energy systems” in accordance with Italian law no. 28, which was approved on 3 March 2011. Some sector players, however, have their doubts about whether the regions will be ready by then.

China: Subsidy Scheme for Energy-Efficient Products

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 5, 2012

The Chinese government is taking further steps to consolidate the market and improve quality. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and China’s Ministry of Finance have launched a new initiative to support the distribution of high-efficiency solar water heaters (SWH). Since 1 June 2012, SWH with sizes between 80 and 600 litres have been subsidised at different rates, which vary between Renminbi (RMB) 100 and 550 (see the table below). Eligible systems must fulfil level 1 or 2 of the new China Energy Label (see figure). The subsidy scheme is part of a promotion campaign for “energy-saving products”, which also includes other renewable technologies, such as small wind mills or photovoltaic generators. It will run for one year until 31 May 2013.

Lebanon: Successful Installation of Testing Equipment

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on November 2, 2012

The new test facility for solar thermal collectors at the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) in Beirut, Lebanon, is now in its warm-up phase: At present, the technical team is preparing the collector testing for the upcoming ARSOL certification scheme in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The photo shows the partners responsible for setting up the equipment according to European collector standards EN 12975 1 and 2 (from right to left): Pierre El Khoury (Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation, LCEC), Rani Al Achkar (LCEC), Nader Hajj Shehadeh (LCEC), Christian Schorn (Institute for Future Energy Systems, IZES), Sheikh Talal Zaki (IRI), Imad Hage Chehade (IRI), Mohamed El-Hajjar (IRI), Dino Alexopoulos (CRES) and Andreas Gisch (IZES). The photo was taken during the last project meeting in April 2011.
Photo: IZES

Solar Keymark: Additional Table Allows Comparison of Annual Collector Output

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on October 1, 2012

The Solar Keymark certification is getting more consumer-friendly: Since the beginning of this year, the new certificate data sheets include a second page on the annual collector unit output for different solar radiation sites in Europe (Stockholm, Davos, Würzburg and Athens). The list shows the output at average collector temperatures of 25, 50 and 75 °C. For example: The new optimised Aqua Plasma collector 19/17 by German collector producer Ritter achieves 1,106 kWh per collector unit and year in Würzburg (50 °C). The gas-filled flat plate collector PS1-52 Joule by Austrian company Geo-Tec achieves 793 kWh at the same location. Both collectors were launched this year with a gross collector area of 1.69 m² and were presented at the Intersolar Europe in June. The listed output should now give end consumers a good hint at what they get for their money.

Risk Assessment of Structural Impacts on Buildings of Solar Hot Water Collectors and PV tiles and Panels (2010)

Submitted by Raquel Ponte Costa on September 24, 2012

This report was prepared for the Scottish government by BRE Scotland and Waterman Group, and looks at the loads imposed when solar thermal hot water collectors are attached to roofs and walls. Through this, they develop a risk-based approach for the installation of solar collectors onto different surfaces.

Brazil: IPT Inaugurates Test Lab with Solar Simulator

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on September 3, 2012

The building installations lab of the Institute for Technological Research, IPT, in São Paulo inaugurated its solar simulator on 26 August which it has bought some time ago. The simulator is thought to support the development and testing of solar thermal collectors. Setting it up has been an important step towards implementing the new Brazilian compulsory certification scheme  for solar water heaters. The state government has funded 90 % of the investment of Brazilian Real (BRL) 3.5 million (USD 1.8 million). To ensure the accuracy of the measurements, the system was installed in a room with eight metre high ceilings. An air conditioning system keeps the temperature constant, with a tolerance level of +/- 1°C.
Photo: IPT

Lebanon Launches First Qualification Programme in Middle East

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 20, 2012

Lebanon’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) from 2011 to 2015 bears first fruits. The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) has successfully implemented a prequalification scheme for solar water heater manufacturers and suppliers. The first prequalification round started at the end of 2010 and has already led to the qualification of more than 55 companies. The scheme enables SWH companies to benefit from the national subsidy programme, which offers SWH clients a USD 200 subsidy in addition to an interest-free loan.
Photo: LCEC

Arab Countries /Germany: Kick-off Meeting for ARSOL Certification Programme

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on August 4, 2012

A new strategy to promote solar thermal technology in the Arab region is bearing fruit: Hosted by the German Institute for Solar and Heating Technology, SWT, the kick-off meeting for the Solar Water Heaters Certification Programme (ARSOL) took place in the south of Germany at the beginning of June. The initial strategy is to create an ARSOL network based on a certification programme similar to the Solar Keymark in Europe or the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) in the US. Some of the Arab countries already adapted the European Standards such as Tunisia.
Photo: RCREEE

Brazil: Quality Labelling Inmetro Soon Mandatory

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on July 5, 2012

Brazilian Labeling Programme PBE – so far a voluntary label - will become mandatory within the next two years. After the transition period of 24 months, all of the around 150 manufacturers of solar collectors and tanks must adhere to the requirements of the new Technical Requirements on Quality (RTQ). PBE announced the mandatory regulation in June 2012. Its aim is improve the quality of products in the Brazilian market. Any collector or tank that is to be sold in Brazil first has to be certified by the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO).

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