European Project: QualiCert

Marco Buoni secretary of the Association of Refrigeration Technicians (It), director of Centro Studi Galileo, vice-president of the European Association AREA and a director of REI, is part of the High Level Steering Group (HLSG) for the QualiCert European Project.

QualiCert stands for “Common quality certification and accreditation for installers of smallscale renewable energy systems” and started in July 2009. In the initial 30-month-period, it developed a common approach to accreditation and certification of installers of small-scale RE systems for 5 EU Members States (i.e. Austria, France, Greece, Italy and Poland). In line with an obligation for all Member States, arising from article 14 of the Directive on the promotion of the use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) (28/2009/EC) to develop certification schemes or equivalent qualification schemes for installers of small-scale renewable energy installations, QualiCert proposes a concerted action among different Member States on certification and accreditation of installers of small-scale building-integrated renewable energy systems.

The project precisely addresses the RES Directive’s requirement of certification schemes or equivalent qualification schemes in each Member State that obey to a set of similar criteria and recognise each other’s certification. To guarantee broadest possible support to the future accreditation and certification scheme, QualiCert is relying on an interdisciplinary multi-stakeholder approach involving builders and installers through their EU associations, existing training providers and accrediting bodies with grassroots experience, the RES industry through its European associations, and a number of national energy agencies. This EU-wide concerted approach will allow going beyond national discussions, which are sometimes highly politically-tainted and blocked, to have a more pragmatic, result-oriented outcome based on the best identified methodology valid for EU-27.

Beyond the proactive approach fulfilling the EU obligation, QualiCert is also addressing the genuine market need for a comprehensive system to certify installers in order to guarantee quality installations and satisfied customers, which in turn will spur further market deployment.

Specific objectives: QualiCert sets out to develop a common approach to accreditation and certification of installers of small-scale RE systems for 5 EU Members States. The intermediary objectives of the action are:

  • Assessment of the performance of existing schemes for accreditation of training and certification of installers EU-wide.
  • Validation of success criteria with stakeholders groups and development of a manual of success criteria addressing technical, legal, institutional, financial and communication aspects.
  • Adoption of the common approach as detailed in the manual in the 5 involved countries and mutual recognition of schemes that follow the common approach based on at least the ones expressed in Annex IV to the Directive.
  • Facilitation of implementation of accreditation and certification schemes based on the joint approach in the 5 MS.
  • Promote the widest adoption and replication of the joint approach for all 27 EU MS through targeted dissemination activities.

Strategic objectives of the proposed action:

  • Speed-up the implementation of art. 14 of the RES Directive aiming at obliging MS to develop and mutually recognise accreditation and certification schemes for installers. EU-27 has accreditation and certification schemes based on the common approach. Once a core group of 5 MS has agreed to apply accreditation and certification schemes based on one common set of success criteria, the other MS are expected to join in. QualiCert will support this through proactive dissemination activities.
  • Assure market stakeholders buy-in to the new accreditation and certification schemes. QualiCert makes sure the RE industry and the installers and building contractors accept the new schemes as they will be based on quality criteria jointly agreed on by all relevant market stakeholders. This will guarantee that the training needs of installers are really met and that the entire scheme will be easy to implement and apply.
  • Assure end-user satisfaction through high quality RES installations. QualiCert allows the RE industry to respond to the strong market growth by developing and maintaining a qualified work force, which in turn will guarantee customer satisfaction with their RE systems and hence a positive image for renewable, which will favour further deployment of RE systems.

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