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Strengthening the quality infrasturcture for solar energy in the Maghreb

The context

The region on the Margheb has a natural competitive advantage for the production of energy from renewable resources. Solar energy is an opportunity for these countries to cover their local growing energy needs, and perhaps engender profits by exporting and promoting industrialization and innovation. Implementing a national industry for the production of energy from renewable sources as well as increasing the added value during this prrocess should creat jobs for local people.

In nerth Africa countries, using solar thermal devices for the production of hot water is very common, but Algeria remains under the level of its capacities and thus inspite if ambitious targets set in the National Programme for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency as for some attempts as the programme ALSOL which soppurts, through the FNME (the National Fund for Energy Master), the acquisition for individuals of solar water-heaters exceeding 40 % of its installed cost. In the countries of the Maghreb, the quality infrastructure required is often available only partially and the knowledge of the international practices are limited. The institutions of normalization and the accreditation bodies practically have no knowledge regarding solar energy and are not capable of offering the services required in the private sector. To be able to proceed to the essays of the collectors or the systems, test laboratories also have to acquire more deeper knowledge. The institutes of metrology as for them, are not still capable of testing all the necessary measurement instruments for purposes of quality assurance. Research and education are not enough interconnected and are not centred on the needs for the sector. This situation explains largely the insufficiency of solar thermals installations, from both views of performances , sustainability and reliability.

Those circumstances could possibly affect the credibility of this promising brand toward consumers and risk to endanger the success the Public Programme for the promotion of solar water-heaters.

The project

To ensure an efficient and sustainable development of solar power, the North Africa Countries must consolidate their infrastructure of quality (I.Q).

This crosses by a capacity building of the actors in the domains of the normalization(standardization), the conformity assessment, some metrology and the accreditation of laboratories. This upgrade should be promoted in a context of regional harmonization and by establishing a more substantial link between the actors of the I.Q and those of research and education as well as the private sector, which will represent in the short term the essential target of the departments of I.Q. The regional project " Strengthening of the Infrastructure Quality for Solar energy in the Maghreb " will have to take place over a period of four years in its first phase and will focus on the technology of the solar water-heaters, in the process of expansion or of development in the countries of the Maghreb.

The project will have to end in the implementation of an infrastructure complete quality (see insert) concerning this technology, in particular for the Laboratory part, the realization of a bench test normalized for sensors and solar water-heaters within the CDER as well as the implementation of a laboratory of calibration of pyranometers for the Metrology sector. Concerning the training chapter, it is planned to develop a module ’quality’ in the field of the thermal solar energy to introduce in program of post—gradual trainings in renewable energies in particular solar energy, within universities and training institutes.

The project has been launched in August 2012 and understand local I.Q bodies for each country partner of the project (Algeria, Tunisia, Morroco, Mauritania). It is driven by the PTB (a national German body for Metrology) and with a budget of two (02) Millions Euros in its forst phase. It is co-financed by the German Ministry of Economy and Cooperation (BMZ). The project is composed with five intervention fields :

(a) Support to educational institutions and settlement of specialized local networks, 
(b) Development of the skills within the national institutes of normalization regarding solar energy, 
(c) Improve the evaluation of the compliance of the solar thermal facilities, 
(d) Improve Metrological track,
(e) Awarness raising and information campaign on the theme of the infrastructure of quality with decision takers (Energy Agencies) and target groups (Private Sector).


The objectives fixed commonly with partners are the following :

The global objective : Institutions and companies appointed for the implementation of the national solar plans in the Maghreb can reach their goals in the field of the solar energy thanks to an infrastructure effective quality and qualified staff;

Specific objectives : The productive capacity of the infrastructure quality from the Maghreb is strengthened for a technology of solar energy ( solar water-heaters) and its networking with training institutions is improved.

Algerian Partners in the project

Laboratories part : (CES tests and pyranometers calibration) : CDER (Renewable Energy Devlopment Center).

Standardization Part : IANOR (Algerian Institute For Standardization).

Metrological part: ONML (National Office for Legal Metrology),

Accreditation part : ALGERAC (Algerian Body for Accreditation),

Education/Training part : USTHB (University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene) and USTO (University of Science and Technology of Oran).

Agency and Energy Operators: CREDEG (MEM).

Contact Name at the CDER : Abdelkrim Chenak a.chenak[at]cder.dz

Infrastructure Quality: The term of " infrastructure quality " indicates all the elements being a member of metrology, standardization, essays, quality management, evaluation of compliance as well as of certification and accreditation. These elements are not only very closely linked with each other but represent rather a network that the logical links of which lean on specialists hierarchy. That is why the smooth running of the system bases on all these elements in their entirety. The network, national or regional, must be centred on the observation of international criteria. This is an indispensable condition to allow a participation the international exchanges of goods and services. The infrastructure quality is here to serve both producers and consumers : without it, axchanges could not be possible, in the same time, it ensures health and environment protection.

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