As a growing and dynamic industry, the off-grid solar market encompasses a wide diversity of product quality. Some products are designed and manufactured well, while others fall short of expectations for safety, durability, or performance. In many households, purchasing an off-grid solar product is a major financial decision. Poor quality products can lead to market spoilage — in which consumers lose trust in an entire technology. Product standards and testing provide quality assurance for consumers, and support those companies who follow best practices in manufacturing and design.
Starting in 2007, the Schatz Center, working in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany, helped develop a set of test methods for evaluating off-grid solar product quality. In 2013, a revised version of these test methods was published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) under IEC TS 62257-9-5. Since 2009, we have worked closely with Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and Lighting Global World Bank Group initiatives to develop an international program for quality assurance and consumer protection for LED-based off-grid lighting and power systems.
In the last ten years, over 29 million Lighting Global Quality Verified solar lighting products have been sold, benefitting more than 147 million people.
- In 2018, we updated the test methods to include a more robust analysis of ports and appliances. This new version of the IEC TS 62257-9-5 was published in June.
- The Schatz Center renewed and expanded our ISO 17025 accreditation through the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to be one of the three off-grid solar testing labs internationally accredited to conduct testing according to the new version of IEC TS 62257-9-5.
- We recently submitted the Lighting Global Quality Standards to the IEC for adoption. Having these standards published by the IEC will create an easier path for government adoption and will help limit the sale of poor quality products in the market.