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).
The new standard ABNT NBR 15747 from 2009 (part 1 and part 2) has its origins in other international standards, mostly EN 12975-2. The changes to the Technical Regulation on Quality (RTQ) are listed in ordinance No. 301 /2012 and 07/2011 (see attached document).
The public has already been consulted on the new standard. The certification scheme will contain some quality measures which have already been incorporated into Europe´s Solar Keymark scheme. One of the measures is industry auditing, in order to ensure that the product quality standards are actually being implemented in the series production of collector and tanks. Product inspections are also part of the scheme. They can occur at every step of the distribution chain.
So far, only Brazilian laboratories have been approved to test collectors and tanks on the national market. The limited testing capacities of the Grupo de Estudos em Energia (GREEN) at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, however, will be certain to cause a bottleneck in the industry. Two more laboratories are about to set up new indoor test simulators: The Institute for Technological Research (Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas = IPT) in Sao Paulo and a test laboratory at the UNA University Centre, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. The latter is headed by Professor Elizabeth Marques D. Pereira, who was working on the Inmetro labelling scheme at GREEN since it creation in 1997. After leaving the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in 2009, she joined the UNA University Centre and has since been in charge of setting up the new test laboratory.
This text was written by Carlos Faria Café, Head of Brazilian consultancy SE-Studio Equinócio – Marca Solar Group: cafe(@)studioequinocio.com.br.