Lab Policy for Testing, Standardization and Certification for Renewable Energy Sector

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Lab Policy for Testing, Standardization and Certification for Renewable Energy Sector

Energetica India

Standards, Testing and Certification are key components that make significant impact on renewable energy technology development and deployment and contribute to their further growth through a number of benefits such as creating financing options, decreasing product costs and hence increasing the market. To support the growth of renewable energy in the country, MNRE has created autonomous institutes for R&D and performance testing and certification in solar, wind and bioenergy.

Globally, the last five years have witnessed a rapid development and up-gradation of renewable energy technologies, particularly for solar and wind applications. In SPV, due to technology development and commercialization there is growing concern for module manufacturers to maintain reliability of the SPV systems and related components to ensure desired performance during the specified life of the systems. In the Indian context, the government in 2015 set an ambitious target of reaching 175 GW capacities of renewable power by 2022, which includes 100GW of solar and 60 GW of wind, the remainder being met by SHP and biomass. The enhanced target has given significant impetus to solar and wind grid power deployment. The expansion of renewable energy programmes has created the necessity for developing/ updating standards of various renewable energy systems and related components and strengthening/ setting up performance testing and certification facilities for quality assurance.

Need of Standards

Standards, Testing and Certification are key components that make significant impact on renewable energy technology development and deployment and contribute to their further growth through a number of benefits such as creating financing options, decreasing product costs and hence increasing the market. Though international standards are relied upon for quality assurance, they need to be harmonized to meet the performance requirements in local climatic conditions and life of the product. The test protocols and standards need to be monitored and updated with technology progression ensuring quality and reliability of the products for desired applications on a regular basis. This requires adequate well skilled and experienced scientific and technical manpower, test labs equipped with modern equipment and instrumentation, adopting scientific methodology and test protocols for testing and performance evaluation of technologies/systems, components, etc.

Testing and Certification Infrastructure

The MNRE has created autonomous institutes for R&D and performance testing and certification in solar, wind and bioenergy. National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurgaon, Haryana, has been set up for R&D, performance testing and certification of SPV, solar thermal systems, devices and components used in SPV and solar thermal programmes implemented by MNRE.

NISE is also engaged in training at all levels in solar energy projects. In addition, three test labs in R&D organizations supported by MNRE and two private sector labs, namely, UL India Pvt. Ltd., and TUV Rhineland are engaged in performance testing and certification in SPV Programmes. National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai has been set up for R&D, performance testing and certification in wind energy. Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Bio-energy (SSS-NIBE) at Kapurthala, Punjab has been set up for R&D, training, testing and evaluation in bio¬energy. The performance testing in small hydropower (SHP) is done by Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (AHEC), IIT, Roorkee, Uttarakhand. Test centres are also supported for solar thermal, biogas and cookstoves in R&D/academic institutions.

Need for Lab Policy

In view of the enhanced target and increased applications, a concrete action plan for standards, testing and performance certification is essential for the successful growth of renewable energy in the country. Further, in order to ensure the quality and reliability of components manufactured indigenously, and also to ensure reliability and quality of the imported equipment, components & sub-systems, it necessary to establish a quality infra-structure in- terms of standards/specifications, test laboratories, referral institutes, mechanism for review, monitoring and inspection of the same.

The lab infrastructure should include collaboration with lead international institutions for getting exposure to international practices in updating standards, test protocols and certification practices. The certification process should be based on assurance of quality and reliability of performance throughout the specified design life of the systems/ components.

Thus, a Lab Policy laying down a framework for establishing, operating, managing, maintaining and monitoring the testing, standardization and performance certification services including regulatory framework, and promoting better coordination of activities among test labs, programmes and institutions is essential for the successful growth of renewable energy in the country. Such a policy will encourage the commitment of manufacturers to maintain consistency in products and ensuring their quality and reliability for widespread adoption of various renewable energy systems/devices.

Lab Policy for Testing, Standardization and Certification

Vision

  • To bring out the need together with clarity in methodology/ procedure in testing, standardization and certification to maintain quality and reliability of performance of renewable energy systems/components/devices
  • To create a robust and efficient testing, standardization and certification system for quality control in renewable energy sector to make the country a global leader in renewable energy.

Mission

  • The policy aims to adopt/update/develop standards of all renewable energy systems/components/devices, strengthening test labs in-line with international practices and making performance certification mandatory in order to ensure quality and reliability in renewable energy supply in the country. Imported systems and components will also be tested in test labs for their efficiency, reliability, life and performance in Indian climatic conditions
  • The MNRE institutions will be strengthened for R&D and for testing, standardisation and certification in the respective areas to make them global Centres of Excellence in new and renewable energy. All the test labs will be required to be accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and approved by Bureau of Indian Stanrdards (BIS). The qualifying products need to be registered with BIS for deployment
  • The policy aims at bringing out regulatory measures to control the quality in field. It will encourage the manufacturers to ensure quality of products produced and supplied in the field as per test reports, ensuring confidence in users for desired performance during the design life time of the product. The policy mandates periodic testing by the accredited test labs to measure and document degradation of the performance of a particular product

Policy Objectives

The objectives of the policy are as follows;

  • To adopt International Standards and develop/ update Indian Standards and make performance testing and certification mandatory for all RE systems and components
  • To affirm government commitment and support for the organization and management of quality, efficient, cost-effective and sustainable performance testing services of all RE Systems and components
  • To strengthened test labs for developing test protocols and standards for ensuring quality of products
  • To establish national standards for laboratory quality systems and performance testing and certification
  • To empower the establishment, implementation and monitoring of the national testing and standardization plan
  • To ensure adequate financial and human resources to meet the requirements of testing, standardization and certification services
  • To encourage research and collaboration to inform and improve the quality and consistency of performance testing and certification services
  • To ensure that the Quality Management Systems of all labs are inline with the requirements of the International Standards of ISO/IEC 17025

Policy Framework

The policy framework is as follows:

  • A Standards, Test and Quality Control Committee (STQCC) for the entire renewable energy sector will be set up in MNRE with Secretary, MNRE as Chairman and experts in the related subjects including representatives from BIS and NABL as Members, and Adviser (R&D Coord.) as Member Secretary to oversee and coordinate the development of standards and protocols and performance testing and certification practices for renewable energy systems, components and devices used for various applications and to monitor the implementation of the same by test labs
  • A sub - STQCC will be set up in each of the three MNRE institutes with eminent subject experts from R&D/academic institution as Chairpersons and experts in respective areas including representatives of industries as members and Head of the Institute as Member Secretary to coordinate the development/updating of standards and test protocols in respective areas and monitoring the implementation by test labs. In small hydropower, the Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (AHEC), IIT Roorkee will set up a sub¬STQCC on the same pattern and to coordinate the activity. These sub¬STQCCs will interact with BIS for adoption of appropriate Indian standards in the respective sectors
  • For rapid expansion of the testing infrastructure, CSIR, IITs, NITs and other institutional labs will be encouraged to set up test facilities as they have scientific manpower and infrastructure available. MNRE may provide assistance for any additional infrastructure required
  • All MNRE institutes will be strengthened and upgraded to make them world class R&D, testing and certification institutes. They will be required to obtain accreditation for this purpose at the earliest

Institutional Mechanism

  • MNRE institutions, namely, NISE, NIWE and NIBE will be strengthened to make them world class centres of excellence in R&D, technology validation, testing, standardization and certification in respective areas. These institutes will set up test facilities for systems/ devices/components in respective areas for various applications
  • In small hydro power, the test facility at AHEC, IIT Roorkee will be strengthened on the same pattern
  • The standard development and certification process would be based on domestic climatic conditions
  • These institutes will act as primary test labs. They will also collaborate with international labs to get exposure to developments in the area and to develop solutions for standards, testing and certification process matching Indian conditions
  • Test labs set up in other organizations will be secondary labs. The primary test labs will also be responsible for establishing network with secondary test labs strengthening them, including comparison of test results and calibration practices for quality assurance

National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE)

  • NISE, Gurgaon is a key institute for technology demonstration, validation, performance testing and certification in solar energy technologies/ systems/devices/components. NISE will set up test facilities in all areas of Solar PV and thermal programmes and will coordinate standards, testing and certification and setting up test labs in all areas under the supervision of sub-STQCC.
  • In SPV, test protocols and standards for SPV module, invertors, battery storage, electronic and balance systems for domestic lighting, street lighting, grid connection, including roof top power, water pumping, storage, installation etc. will be up-dated/developed.
  • In solar thermal, standards available will be updated and standards for dish concentrators, parabolic trough concentrators and components, etc. will be developed.

National Institute of Wind-Energy (NIWE)

  • NIWE, Chennai will coordinate the activity for wind sector. In wind, there is a need for setting up test facility for testing of wind components such as blade testing, drive train testing, etc.
  • The component testing will help in indigenous technology development.
  • A comprehensive plan for Indian Standards and Test Protocols (BIS) need to be developed properly at component, turbine and wind power plant level.
  • One more test lab is needed to cater to the requirements of testing and certification of 60GW wind power. This will also facilitate inter lab comparison of test results.

National Institute of Bio-Energy (NIBE)

  • NIBE, Kapurthala will work out and coordinate a programme for R&D, testing, standards and certification for biogas plants and systems, biomass cookstoves, biomass power, gasifier, etc.
  • In the field of biomass cookstoves, test centres set up for performance testing will be strengthened, and these centres will also be associated with NIBE for coordination of performance testing, standardisation and certification

Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (AHEC)

  • AHEC, IIT Roorkee will coordinate activity relating to SHP. AHEC will review the standards and test protocols being followed in SHP testing.
  • One more test lab will be set up in some other institution to cater to the need for testing and performance certification requirements in SHP.

Work Plan - Guidelines Testing laboratory

  • As a part of quality infrastructure, a network of laboratories with adequate equipment/facility and expert manpower is essential for the testing and certification
  • All the test laboratories should have established and implemented demonstrable quality systems as per IEC/ISO 17025 standard, according to which certain mandatory facilities, procedures and NABL accreditation are to be maintained by the respective laboratories
  • The test labs will need to fulfil the following minimum conditions:
  1. Quality system accreditation as per IEC/IS017025 for performance testing for all systems and components used for various applications. This should be endorsed by authorised national organization like NABL.
  2. All the measurements and test procedures should have traceability as per the prescribed standards.
  3. The laboratory should have relevant and adequate manpower for testing and performance certification of product.

STQCC in MNRE

  • A STQCC will be set up in MNRE to coordinate and monitor testing, standardization and certification services and for reviewing the Lab Policy and for considering suggestions for modification, if any
  • The committee will comprise members to be drawn from various scientific institutions involved in R&D, technology development, applications and they should be knowledgeable on measurements, standards, industry, and user requirements
  • The terms of reference of the STQCC will be as follows;
  1. To develop the plan for setting up test laboratories, standards, testing and certification, and allocation of official resources for implementation;
  2. To coordinate setting up standards for performance testing and certification for systems and components and guide the testing and certification services in accordance with the plan;
  3. To suggest manpower requirement and setting up mechanisms for training of staff to carry out the functions of test labs;
  4. Monitoring compliance i.e. with standards for human resources and competence.

 

| Article published on 12/04/2018 by Rashmi Nargundkar

 
 
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