Standardization, certification and characterization

Many countries are pursuing the strategic objective of restructuring their heating supply system to incorporate as much renewable energy as possible. Technical guidelines, industry standards and sets of requirements are being compiled to support the development of the market on a sufficiently high quality level. Some of these become noticeable to the end customer in the form of labels or quality certificates. Furthermore, such certificates are often used to prove to political decision makers that products are eligible for support, i.e. minimum quality standards should be tested to ensure that they will add value to society and the national economy.

Such regulations have to keep up with the continuously changing state of the art. Again and again, the lack of rules must be bridged to pave the way for innovations to enter the established market. An objective characterization of product features and performance is required so that the various technologies or technical processes can be truly compared. This often provides a basis for the subsequent creation of industry standards.

In this context, Fraunhofer ISE develops mathematical models, uses computer-based simulations and finds empirical methods for characterizing and checking product characteristics. By presenting results and collaborating in national and international standards bodies, we are able to contribute new developments to the standardization discussion at an early stage, thus reducing or preventing barriers to market entry. The objective quantification of product features also enables the targeted development of products. The high levels of reliability and performance achieved through this, as well as the long product lifetime, lead to end customers putting their trust in solar thermal technology.