The workshop Quality Assurance for Solar Water Heaters, which took place in Mexico in September 2012, seems to bear fruit: The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) seized the initiative to help establish a group of solar test laboratories, which developed their first joint action plan during their first meeting in November 2012. Four of the five Mexican solar thermal test facilities joined the newly formed group LabSolMx: The Energy Research Center of the Autonomous University of Mexico, CIE-UNAM, the Autonomous University of Mexico City, UACM, the Mexican Solar Test Laboratory, Mexolab, and the company Saltillo Industrial Group, GIS, which runs a commercial laboratory. Among the participants of the workshop was Alvaro Lentz Herrera, Professor at the UACM and President of Mexico’s national solar energy association, ANES. The University of Guanajuato has not joined the group, because its lab mainly focuses on research.
“The laboratories have realised that the new standard required for the loans programme Hipoteca Verde leaves a few details open to interpretation,” explains Marissa Cuevas Flores, Analyst with the Sustainable Energy programme of the GIZ in Mexico. DTESTV was approved in October 2012 by the Technical committee
During the group’s first meeting, the laboratories agreed to follow up several issues until the next workshop on 7 March 2013:
- Testing procedures: harmonise test methodology, reports and standard testing conditions, as well as improve traceability of test results
- Communication: Establish contacts with other solar test laboratories in the region and the world to exchange experiences
- Capacity building: Strengthen technical capacities of laboratories testing solar water heaters. Conduct training courses in cooperation with the National Metrology Center, CENAM. The long term-goal is to implement the ISO 17025.
Solar technology has been attracting more and more interest in Mexico’s universities. On 25 January 2013, UNAM even announced to establish a Renewable Energy Institute. And the Autonomous University of Mexico City is planning to set up a new test facility for solar thermal equipment.
One crucial issue remains: how to implement a mandatory standard. The standard AP-NMX-004-NORMEX-2012 for factory made systems has been under revision for one year now, but it is a voluntary standard.
Autonomous University of Mexico: www.cie.unam.mx
Mexican Solar Test Laboratory: WWW.mexolab.com
National Metrological Institute: http://www.cenam.mx/
Saltillo’s Industrial Group: www.gis.com.mx
Universidad de Guanajuato: http://www.ugto.mx/sitioug/ingles/estructura/index.asp