solar panels

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is in the final stages of developing a standard for solar products in the Solar Home System (SHS) and Pico solar products category largely plug and play products.

The development of standard follows a public outcry of poor quality solar products flooding the market.

A public review of the Draft Solar Plug and Play standard was held yesterday, by UNBS in partnership with the Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA), Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and RENCON Uganda, ahead of the standards approval by the National Standards Council.

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The draft standard, IEC 62257-9-8:2020 provides baseline requirements for quality, durability and truth in advertising to protect consumers of off-grid renewable energy products in general.

The draft standard’s minimum requirements include; Truth in advertising where all advertised features must be clear, true and accurate. All numerical aspects shall not deviate by more than 15% from advertised values like Light output, run time, PV Power, charging time and others.

The recommended that electronic appliances and power supplies must carry recognised and valid consumer safety certification and batteries shall not contain hazardous substances like mercury or Cadmium

According to the developed standards, Lumen maintenance must not fall below 90% of initial values after 2000 hours of operation and the battery capacity loss shall not exceed 25% during testing

Components, connectors, switches and accessories must be strong enough to meet various stresses and strains and operation cycles of at least 1000

During the public review, UNBS Standards Development Manager, Mr. Andrew Othieno revealed that the Draft Standard, once approved, will be made Mandatory for solar products dealers, importers, users etc.

The UNBS Deputy Executive Director in charge of standards, Ms Patricia Bageine Ejalu also revealed that there will be a lot of imports inspections and market surveillance activities to ensure that all poor quality solar products are taken off the market.

A Public review session is part of the final stages of developing a standard. After the review, the draft standard is open to the public for comments until the end of this month, after which it will be submitted to the National Standards Council for approval.