Since January 2016, PTB has supported the establishment of a national quality infrastructure for photovoltaics in Tunisia. In this context, PTB has cooperated with the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and Commerce and with the Agence Nationale pour la Maîtrise de l’Énergie (ANME – National Agency for Energy Management).
Why is a national quality infrastructure necessary in the field of photovoltaics? The photovoltaics market in Tunisia is dominated by imported components for photovoltaic facilities. What these components have in common is their cheap price – some of them are also of poor quality. Due to such quality deficits, this technology is associated with negative experiences, which has a negative influence on the reputation of photovoltaics in Tunisia in the long run. This, in turn, impedes the development of the whole market. Our cooperation project therefore aims to restore the users’ confidence in this technology and to create a basis for the growth of the photovoltaics market. Being able to test the quality of the products that are already on the market in a reliable way is therefore necessary.
Due to continuous economic growth, Tunisia’s energy needs have also been growing. Ninety-eight per cent of this increased demand is supplied by fossil energy sources. To reduce the country’s dependence on the price of mineral oil, the Tunisian government’s new energy strategy (Plan Solaire Tunisien) intends to cover 30 % of the national energy consumption by renewable energy sources by 2030. Due to Tunisia’s climate, the focus is on photovoltaics.
Above all, our project supports the introduction of new test procedures in Tunisian testing laboratories. This is done by means of training measures that are geared to the needs of the testing laboratories and by supporting the laboratories in purchasing the equipment they may still lack. Moreover, PTB promotes improvements in the quality of the installation of photovoltaic facilities.
What has been attained in a year of cooperating with Tunisia? In that first year, our work mainly focused on increasing networking between the relevant Tunisian stakeholders. And what is more, an awareness-raising action plan was set up: the relevant political decision makers’ and all the market participants’ awareness of quality aspects of photovoltaics has to be raised. The first training measures for laboratories have already taken place. They introduced the topic of photovoltaic module testing.
Our own personal highlight last year was our participation in the Conference of the German-Tunisian Partnership for Energy on 13-14 December in Tunis. Our brief presentation on the importance of quality infrastructure for the field of photovoltaics and on PTB’s activities in Tunisia allowed us to reach many important partners.