A comprehensive documentation of the workshop “Quality Assurance for Solar Water Heaters: Tasks for the Quality Infrastructure” is now available online on the webpage of the German federal agency PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt): https://www.ptb.de/lac/?id=5860 You can download all the presentations there. The four-day workshop attracted 70 experts from the solar heating and cooling sector, as well as from service providers in Latin America and the Caribbean, who met in Mexico City at the end of September to discuss the current challenges and shortcomings with regard to the quality of solar water heaters in the region. The workshop was part of the regional project “Quality Infrastructure Services for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
Five partner organisations are involved in this project. The PTB, the InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC), the Sistema Interamericano de Metrología (SIM), the Comisión Panamericana de Normas Técnicas (COPANT) and the Organization of American States (OAS). Hosts of the event were Mexico´s national accreditation body EMA and the Mexican office of the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ.
“The participants acknowledged the very high professional level of the event,” the Executive Summary states. In the final evaluation sheet, 97.4 % of the participants rated the workshop as excellent or good. The mix of presentations, discussions in the large group, as well as teamwork in smaller groups improved the information exchange. Still, the organisers of the event concluded in the summary that the project needs more involvement of stakeholders from the industry, with only a few of them having attended the workshop in Mexico. The next activities should be “more technical” and this would also require the attendance of more research and test laboratories.
The organisers also said that there is only little expertise in the region when it comes to testing and accrediting solar water heaters. With two test labs, Brazil is the most advanced country in this regard, followed by Chile with one test lab. There are a number of countries which are interested in developing standards and technical regulations, namely Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Countries with the most experience in implementing and using solar water heaters in the region are Barbados, Brazil, and Mexico.
The workshops and the final planning session resulted in four major activities and objectives for the coming years, partly including responsibilities, resources and time frames:
- To better communication between regulatory entities and interested parties
- To improve the distribution of up-to-date solar water heaters in Latin America and the Caribbean
- To harmonise solar water heater product and testing standards in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- To strengthen the region’s testing capacity for solar water heaters
The workshop is seen as a starting point for further activities, as Patrick Frommberg from the PTB proved when sending out the documentation. He greeted all participants with the following words: “I hope that we can keep the project as enjoyable and effective as at our first meeting to make it a broad and sustainable success for Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Workshop documentation: http://www.ptb.de/lac/index.php?id=5466&L=1