The GSCN is a worldwide cooperation between solar thermal industry representatives, certification bodies, test laboratories and inspection bodies. It was established based on the work of Task 43 and Task 57 of the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (SHC) of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The first meeting of the GSCN took place in 2013.
The GSCN aims to facilitate worldwide cross-border trading for manufacturers of solar thermal quality products and avoid re-testing products and re-inspecting production lines when entering new markets. This leads to increased product quality, lower costs, access to more markets and better business opportunities. “Being a member of the GSCN makes it possible to define the required collector tests from the beginning in such a way that the requirements of the certification scheme from different countries are covered. This means that the tests on collectors do not have to be carried out twice. The number of required test specimens is reduced. Also, the recurring factory visits can be carried out with much less travel and significantly reduced costs for the industry.“ states the Austrian collector manufacturing company GREENoneTEC.
The GSCN takes harmonised existing certification schemes as a basis and grants mutual recognition of test and inspection reports if they fulfil the requirements specified in the GSCN Working Rules and are done by test labs and inspectors recognized by the GSCN. Its vast expertise in solar thermal collectors certification schemes makes it a valuable information hub for the industry internationally. Besides, the GSCN provides guidance and suggestions for implementing certification programmes for solar thermal collectors in different countries and regions all over the globe.
Following the alliance with the Solar Heating Initiative, the GSCN supports the promotion and implementation of the SOLERGY Label globally, a voluntary label for solar thermal collectors launched in Europe in 2016 by the Solar Heating Initiative. “A key issue of the SOLERGY Label is to show how well a solar collector uses solar irradiation at different temperatures and locations. This is relevant for collector manufacturers that export to multiple countries and target clients from various segments (swimming pool heating, water heating, process heat, among others),” remarks Marisol Oropeza from the Solar Heating Initiative. Several communication activities, including webinars and digital campaigns, are jointly implemented to raise more awareness about the GSCN and the SOLERGY Label.
Highly recognized companies from around the world belong to the GSCN. Currently, it has 30 members, including seven from the solar thermal industry, seven certification bodies, eight test labs, and two inspection bodies. Applications from six more organizations are being processed.