Associations Kick off European Solar Thermal Energy Standardisation & Certification Working Group

Four major solar and heating associations in Europe jointly kicked off the ESTESC working group in Berlin at the end of November. ESTESC stands for European Solar Thermal Energy Standardisation & Certification. The four associations are the two Brussels-based associations European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) and the Association of the European Heating Industry (EHI), as well as German associations BSW Solar and the Federal Industrial Association of Germany - House, Energy and Environmental Technology, BDH. All members of the four organisations have been invited to become active participants of a number of subgroups within the ESTECS working group. Christian Stadler, Technical Head at Austrian company General Solar Systems, was elected Chair of the ESTESC for the next three years. He started his career in the solar thermal industry in 1991 and worked in leading positions at 4 different collector manufacturers. Since 2008, he has been responsible for product management, development and strategic sourcing at General Solar Systems with its major brand Sonnenkraft.
Photo: General Solar Systems

“My motivation is to work on a clear and understandable normative basis for solar thermal products,” Stadler explained after his election. “We have to think as Europeans and remove technical obstacles in different markets.” According to the Chairman, “Standards should assist the development of safe and durable products and support companies in selling products to different markets.” The newly elected ESTESC chair was positively surprised about the high interest from the industry during the kick-off meeting. “We have around 20 solar thermal specialists from the four associations that were nominated to participate in the different working groups,” Stadler says. “We invite solar thermal specialists from all four associations to join the ESTESC and share their deep insights with European colleagues from other countries.”

ESTESC members must be actively involved in at least one subgroup. The objective is to first develop clear positions on standard and certification issues within the European industry before speaking to the administration in Brussels or at the national level.

The kick-off meeting presented six solar subgroups:

  • CE Marking of Collectors
  • Eco Design & Eco Labelling
  • Solar Keymark Certification
  • Global Certification
  • Barriers to Trade
  • CEN/TC 312 and ISO/TC 180

These subgroups are supposed to start working over the next 2 to 3 months and should do so independently. The coordinator of each subgroup is elected internally and reports directly to the ESTESC chair. The ESTESC also includes four subgroups representing technical issues in Europe that are not particularly solar, but can easily become relevant for solar systems as well.

Non-solar sub groups:

  • Roof and mounting systems CEN/TC 128
  • Water supply and legionella CEN/TC 164
  • Heating systems in buildings CEN/TC 228
  • Energy Performance of Buildings CEN/TC 371

“To make sure that we are aware of solar-relevant changes in these four fields, we already have two solar thermal specialists in the related international standard and certification meetings,” Stadler explains. Korbinian Kramer, Head of TestLab Solar Thermal Systems at the Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany, reports on TC 128 and Gerard van Amerongen from vA Consult in the Netherlands follows up on the three other non-solar topics. Both are compensated by the Solar Certification Fund.

The foundation of the ESTESC working group is the result of a number of strategic meetings between ESTIF and the EHI under the title “Wake-up call”, which took place in Brussels over the last two years and were initiated by ESTIF President Robin Welling. “The cooperation in terms of standard and certification already works well in Germany between BSW Solar and the BDH,” Welling says. More and more of the relevant standards, however, apply across Europe, which is why Welling adds that “it is a great success to form a strong coalition in the technical field on the European level as well”.

ESTESC contact: Christian Stadler, christian.stadler@generalsolar.com

More information:
European Solar Thermal Industry Federation: www.estif.org
BSW Solar: http://www.solarwirtschaft.de/ (only in German)
Association of the European Heating Industry: www.ehi.eu
Federal Industrial Association of Germany - House, Energy and Environmental Technology, BDH: http://www.bdh-koeln.de/en/the-bdh.html

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