Labeling solar water heaters
In India, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is an agency for taking care of national standards and labeling programs. In order to develop a quality standard within the solar thermal sector, The Government of India is planning to introduce a kind of “star level” for solar water heaters which would allow rating for solar water heaters. However, the solar Industries have some reservations about this program.
The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in support with the UNDP/GEF Global Solar Water Heating (GSWH) project arranged a workshop on 22 January 2010 in Delhi to discuss the solar labeling approach with professionals/ experts of the industry which did not prove fruitful as some representatives of the industry were in the opinion that it would not be technically feasible. Even an Advisor from MNRE argued that he did not find these types of tests practical due to very high cost involved. It was also mentioned that there were methods to normalize test results and to confirm a system’s performance with repeated tests even when done so under dissimilar outdoor conditions. Another matter to be deemed was the rating of products based on other factors, such as manufacturing facilities, after-sales service and distribution network etc.
In minutes of the workshop, it was concluded that a Minimum Efficiency Performance Standards (MEPS) may be initiated for SWH systems in a first stage. Initially the minimum efficiency was considered to be 40%. The MEPS level could be evaluated occasionally for advancing it to higher levels. A next action could be a label, which permits greater competition and more proficient products in the solar thermal sector.
As no clear conclusion was achieved, it was suggested to establish a task force for further study regarding the introduction of MEPS and a minimum level. Afterwards, its recommendations shall be submitted to the Project Steering Committee of the GSWH project for further advice and directions.