New tool promotes solar energy

It will now be easier for consumers and importers to compare the exchange of energy of different solar collectors with each other. This is possible owing to a new Europe-wide tool for energy estimation, which can be applied to virtually all solar collectors on the market. The tool is well on its way to becoming a global standard.

There are now many different energy calculation tools and methods on the market. In practice this means that different importers may get different information about energy exchange in the accompanying documentation of a solar collector of the same type, depending on the specific calculation method of their supplier. This creates confusion and obstructs the information to consumers, which hampers both trade of solar collectors and technology development.

In order to remedy this dilemma SP has developed an intuitive tool which should be used by testing laboratories to recount the results of short tests to energy exchange on an annual basis. The work took place in close collaboration with a number of European institutes as a part of the EU project QAIST (Quality Assurance in Solar Thermal Heating and Cooling Technologies).

There is substantial interest. Solar Keymark, the European quality marking for solar collectors, has already approved the tool and now includes calculation results from the tool in its documentation for Solar Keymark certified solar collectors. The tool is also a part of a proposal for a new global ISO standard. Voting for this standard will take place in 2012.

Owing to this in the long term the tool will contribute to more efficient global trade of solar collectors and an increased usage of solar energy globally.

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Peter Kovacs

Phone: +46 10 516 56 62

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Phone 010-516 50 00, E-mail

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