Situation of European standards and quality assurance today
Table 1 gives an overview over the important currently valid European and International Standards which should ensure the quality of solar thermal collectors and PV-modules articulated in application area, standard and short description of their content.
Table 1. European and International standards to ensure the quality of solar thermal collectors and PV-modules.
Tests of solar thermal collectors and PV-modules according to the valid standards and regulations by independent laboratories should guarantee the quality standard related to the state of the technology, mainly to ensure the continuous growth in order to make a contribution to the sustainable energy supply. Furthermore such tests should ensure the continuous development and should sharpen up the transparency of the European and International market for the consumer. Essential conditions to reach these aims are the general performance of the mandatory tests of all solar thermal and PV-modules in the run up to the market entrance. Furthermore useful, which means to the respective state of the technology and the environmental conditions well adjusted requirements within the different standards. The necessary permanent amendment of the standards is not always able to fulfill these requirements, because the process of the amendment always takes a long time and furthermore is subjected to totally different conflicts of interests between manufacturers, certifiers and political framing conditions.
Under a closer consideration e. g. of the development of the European standard EN12975-1.2:2006 we will see, that the reliability test to check the impact resistance is, unlikely to older versions, no longer an obligatory test, even though severe hailstorms in Europe in recent years definitely increased. Concerning this matter the amendment of the standard does not reflect the requirements resulting from real environmental conditions. Also the appliance of other EU-Standards which harmonize the building shell e. g. for roof lights, for the quality assurance of solar energy systems, is not simply possible. By the reason of different requirements concerning the functionality, formulations like “the choice of the used materials should take into account the risk of hailstorms” are not transferable. For this account it is also not possible to transfer the results from other studies performed up to now which describe the impact resistance against hailstorms of building. Additionally, today we have to think about the standardisation and adaption of testing procedures for a wider distribution of different technologies in the field of solar energy systems.