The Indian government is thinking about the implementation of a kind of “star label” for solar water heaters. The institution responsible for the national Standards & Labelling Programme scheme is the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The national solar industry, however, has some reservations about this plan.
The government of India is planning to introduce a kind of “star label” for solar water heaters (SWH), in order to create a quality standard within the solar thermal sector. The scheme is thought to establish a “trust mark”, similar to Europe's Solar Keymark, which would allow for the rating of SWHs.
The solar labelling approach was discussed with professionals from the industry at a one-day workshop in Delhi, which was held on the 22nd of January 2010 and organized by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in cooperation with the UNDP/GEF Global Solar Water Heating (GSWH) project. According to the minutes of the meeting, the discussion was quite a controversial one.
Some representatives of the industry were not in favour of the kind of SWH labelling planned so far because it would not be “technically feasible”. Bibek Bandyopadhyay, Advisor from MNRE, supported them in their argument as he did not find these kind of tests “practical due to the high costs involved”. Nevertheless, it was mentioned that there were methods to normalise test results and to confirm a system's performance during repeated tests even when done so under different outdoor conditions. Another point to be considered was the rating of products based on other parameters, such as after-sales service, manufacturing facilities and distribution network etc. (see the attached document).
This text was written by Jaideep Malaviya, an Expert in Solar Thermal based in India