The global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy (RE) is well under way, with record new additions of installed renewable energy capacity, thanks in part to rapidly falling costs, particularly for solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power.
Safety from the outset
The important work of IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, helps facilitate trade of equipment and services for the marine, solar PV and wind sectors, while maintaining the required level of safety and expected performance.
IECRE Schemes for each sector will cover products, services and personnel, to provide testing, inspection and certification.
A key milestone for solar PV
The International Energy Agency (IEA) Renewables 2017 Report highlights that new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity grew globally by 50% in 2016, reaching over 74 GW. It also notes that for the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.
In May 2018, IECRE issued its first solar photovoltaic (PV) certificate. The IEC Technical Specification (TS) 62941 certificate has raised the industry standards for PV module product design, development, product certification, process control, raw material control and procurement, as well as product testing and monitoring.
“The IECRE System for certifying PV products, systems, and farms ensures that all stakeholders will have confidence and trust that devices and installations are built to International Standards and perform as promised”, said Kerry McManama, Executive Secretary and COO of the IECRE System.
Promoting standards globally
Throughout the year, IECRE representatives help drive RE development by promoting the importance of standardization at international events around the world.
For example, the Chair for the Marine Energy, Operational Management Committee of IECRE, Jonathan Colby, attended the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Group of Experts on Renewable Energy Efficiency (GERE) in Geneva, Switzerland. The event attracted ministers, companies developing RE equipment and systems, and international organizations, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), and resulted in three proposals to further promote standardization and other RE activities within the ECE region.
During the Forum on Regional Cooperation: Developing Quality Infrastructure for Photovoltaic Energy Generation in Santiago, Chile, aimed at engaging policymakers and regulators in the Latin America and Caribbean region to develop and implement quality infrastructure for solar PV systems, George Kelly, Secretary of IEC Technical Committee (TC) 82, which develops International Standards for solar PV energy systems, presented the benefits of certification of PV systems using IECRE.
The IRENA report Boosting global PV markets: The role of quality infrastructure, was released during the event. The report emphasizes that quality assurance (QA) is vital for reducing electricity costs, since it contributes to ensuring stability for the investors and other stakeholders. QA helps to reduce risk by providing the confidence that a product or service will meet expectations. This in turn, lowers capital costs, raises performance and increases module lifespans. Reference is also made to the IECRE Conformity Assessment System.
IEC withdraws Standard for wind energy conformity assessment
IEC TC 88, which covers wind energy generation systems, had previously published IEC 61400-22:2010, related to the assessment of conformity by testing laboratories and certification bodies.
At the time, the Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) requested TC 88 to transfer all conformity assessment content to be managed by CAB. The IECRE conformity assessment system was then established and the wind sector developed partly to address the deficiencies within the IEC 61400-22 Standard.
Over the past eight years, the membership within the wind sector has improved, enhanced, and made additions to those previous requirements, through adoption of the IECRE rules and specifications, or Operational Documents (ODs). Consequently, as of 31 August 2018, IEC 61400-22:2010 will be withdrawn and replaced by the IECRE Conformity Assessment System.
In 2014, IECRE was created because the ever-increasing demand for electricity, and the desire to reduce power generated by fossil fuels, have led to rapid development and growth of the RE sector. IECRE also addresses the specific requirements of the RE sector, which are not covered by the existing IEC Conformity Assessment Systems.