NEW DELHI: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set up three committees to improve quality control of solar modules and products. One panel will prepare a policy for testing laboratories, another will set technology and product standards and the third will look into regulations governing solar products.
“We want to have a regulatory mechanism for solar products,” said Varsha Joshi, joint secretary in the ministry who heads the committee looking into regulations. “We will also hold a stakeholders’ meeting soon to decide which products should be included.”
India has set a target of 100,000 MW of installed solar energy capacity by 2022, of which 6,753 MW had been achieved by March. Solar projects worth more than 21 GW were bid out in 2015-16.
Facilities for testing solar modules in India are limited – a National Institute of Solar Energy laboratory in Gurgaon and two private labs in Bengaluru, one run by Germany-based TUV and the other by UL, headquartered in the US. The three labs together are able to test only about 150 modules annually. “The NISE laboratory, as a result, has a waiting list of over six months,” said Upendra Tripathy, MNRE secretary.
The Electronics Test & Development Centre in Bengaluru and the Electronics Regional Test Laboratory in Kolkata are awaiting accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration for testing solar modules.
The lab committee will decide how many more facilities are required and if testing and certification should be enforced on all solar manufacturers. Many domestic manufacturers get modules tested before selling, although it is not mandatory.
“Transporting modules from Rajasthan to Bangalore for testing can be very expensive,” said Tripathy. “We are looking at a lab policy by which many more labs can be set up as capacity increases. We would like them to be located close to all areas where there is substantial production of solar energy, especially solar parks.”
The government also wants to bring uniformity to standards currently being used. “Some renewable energy technologies have IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards and some use BIS standards,” said Joshi. “Some do not have any standards to adhere to at all. We will create a minimum requirement for every kind of technology and product. We are going to have a set of guidelines which will cover not only solar installations but also structures, transportation cables, etc.” guidelines which will cover not only solar installations but also structures, transportation cables, etc.” The guidelines are being prepared by OS Sastry, director of NISE, who also heads the standards committee.
Source: The Economic Times