Ignore quality and standards at your own peril10. June 2011 By: Simon Rolland
At Intersolar, quality (or at least its claim) is everywhere. You walk around and certain words keep popping-up: "quality", "excellence", "reliability", "trust" are printed everywhere, from stands to t-shirts, bags and stickers.
While these words may just be commercial slogans, they have life-or-death power over whole markets in certain parts of the world. I’ve met professionals from countries as far away from each other as India, Tanzania or Paraguay at this year’s fair and they all stressed the same point - if photovoltaics is to thrive in the promising emerging economies, quality standards and their strict compliance are vital.
Already too much damage was done to the photovoltaic industry’s reputation by the influx of low-quality components in countries that will become tomorrow‘s leading photovoltaic markets.
For instance, I was given the example of boxes of poor quality, counterfeited modules arriving in an African country with stickers stating "Made in Germany" in order to gain consumer trust. If cases like these become the rule, it’s not only the consumer who’ll suffer, but the whole German industry as well.
The movement towards stable, well functioning photovoltaic markets in emerging and developing countries will have to follow the same path as it did in Europe, meaning, through strict quality standards and control. In exchange, a new world of business opportunities might open to the industry. With this is mind, all the Intersolar exhibitors need to do is ensure their commitment matches their slogans.