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IFC, TERI set to certify off-grid solar appliances

                                                                                        Financial Chronicle, New Delhi, 18th April, 2013

International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group and TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) have joined hands to certify solar lighting systems for off-grid applications through a state-of-the-art testing facility at latter’s campus in New Delhi.

Under the proposed plan, the solar lighting laboratory in TERI University, New Delhi will be upgraded into a state-of-the art testing facility for ensuring quality solar lighting products, produced for people who have no access to grid power.

The manufacturers will be able to get their products tested at the laboratory based on procedures specified by International Electrotechnical Commission, a body that sets all electrical standards worldwide. IEC testing will certify products for international quality assurance, helping manufacturers produce affordable quality solar LED lights for end-users in India, according to a statement.

“Once fully developed, the lab will be among the few in Asia that will be accredited to test solar lighting products according to global benchmarks,” R K Pachauri, director-general of TERI, said.

The initiative comes in the wake of poor quality and performance of products flooding the market targeted at the low income people, who are in need of off-grid robust lighting solutions. “Realizing that a strong, quality assurance and testing program will go a long way in building consumer confidence in solar products, IFC’s Lighting Asia/India Program is working with TERI towards this end,” it said.

“Quality is a key determinant in the success of off-grid lighting products and laboratory testing is the best way to reliably benchmark products. Our partnership with TERI will ensure the availability of reliable solar lighting products for those cut off from the power grid,” according to Jeeva A Perumalpillai-Essex, manager - sustainable business advisory, IFC.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) envisages installation of deployment of 1,000 mw of rooftop projects both at off-grid and grid connected levels under phase II.

In India, there are around 400 million citizens who lack access to modern forms of energy. Around nine crore households are using kerosene for cooking and lighting requirements. The major thrust areas under JNNSM Phase II will be the areas where grid has not reached, or the areas where grid has reached but the electricity is not available. Phase II will also focus on solar off grid generating systems, solar home lighting systems and various other forms of solar based heating/cooling/thermal applications, according to a government document on JNNSM.