The ministry of new and renewable energy is in the process of finalising a national lab policy to set norms for testing, standardisation and certification of renewable energy related products, and define the infrastructure required for testing centres. The policy document is in the final stage of being prepared and is expected to be complete in a month’s time, a government official told ET. A committee headed by ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) director BS Negi and National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) director OS Sastry has already prepared a draft policy document. ET has reviewed a copy of the draft document.
Noting that there are no existing standards for products such as solar pumps, solar batteries, solar lanterns and solar thermal systems, the draft said these need to be quickly put in place. It also spelled out the highly technical standards that each of these products should adhere to. Currently, there are only three laboratories for testing solar equipment in the country — Gurgaon-based NISE and two private laboratories in Bengaluru, owned by Germany-based TUV Rhineland and US-based UL.
Ganga Charan Sharma, vice-president at TUV, and Sudhir Zautshi, head (government and industry affairs) at UL India, are members of the committee that prepared the draft policy. Other members include Vikram Kumar of IIT Delhi, Srinivasa Murthy of IISc, Bengaluru, and S Gomathinayagam, director at National Institute of Wind Energy. Apart from the absence of standards for a number of products, there has been no direction yet from MNRE regarding testing of solar thermal systems. Standards for biogas plants were last brought out by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in 1990. These and other lacunae were brought up by a committee member and are likely to be addressed.
The policy document has identified four components as critical in the area of testing for solar photovoltaic (SPV) system: modules, inverters, batteries and water pumping systems. “During recent field surveys serious concerns on quality and reliability of the installed PV systems have been raised, as the observations showed more than the normal rate of degradations in several cases. It is felt that an immediate policy intervention is needed for quality improvement of all the components and SPV systems and power plant,” the draft said.
Setting standards is in line with the government’s thrust towards manufacturing more solar cells, modules, inverters and components indigenously. Currently there are no BIS standards for components of wind energy systems. The NIWE follows global IEC standards while assessing equipment. “There need to be standards for components for those suited to Indian conditions, so those are being brought out in this policy,” said a government official.