Quality control for renewable energy technology
December 6, 2015 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a new series of reports offering detailed information on how to develop quality infrastructure for small wind turbines and solar water heaters.
"With renewable energy technologies becoming competitive and globally traded, additional efforts are needed to protect markets from poor-quality products and services, which can seriously delay renewables deployment growth," said Dolf Gielen, director of IRENA´s Innovation and Technology Center. "Therefore, it is of paramount importance to implement instruments to control the quality of renewable energy products and services, mitigate technical risk and build up market trust. Operationalizing international technical standards via testing and certification can address risk and at the same time spur technological improvements."
The report series, Quality Infrastructure for Renewable Energy Technologies, finds that implementing a quality infrastructure is dependent on the country context and the status of the market for a specific renewable energy technology. The reports provide detailed guidance for developing the quality infrastructure incrementally, hand-in-hand with local market development.
The report on Small Wind Turbines, for example, finds that the share of small wind turbines can increase ten-fold by 2030, providing electricity solutions to remote areas, integrating into mini-grid systems and even distribution grids. Currently, small wind turbines only account for 0.7 GW of installed capacity due, in part, to the fact that products which do not meet minimum quality requirements are blocking the growth of small wind turbine markets.
The series provides detailed guidelines for two industry sectors -- solar thermal energy for the building sector and wind power for rural and remote areas -- and contain the most comprehensive, up-to-date information based on interviews with experts in renewable energy technologies, standards, and testing.
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