Deadline: Sep - 01 - 2023
Deadline: Sep - 01 - 2023
Project Title: Structuring of an International Network of Solar Technology and Application Resource Centres (UNIDO Project ID: 190370)
Globally, more than one hundred international standards relevant for renewable energy technologies have been published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). A significant part are dedicated to standards for PV technologies. These standards cover every aspect of PV energy systems, from solar cells converting solar radiation into electricity, to the manufacturing of solar panels, to aggregating and operating large-scale PV systems. 0F1 These core standards are complemented by regional or national standards, which address specific conditions or requirements linked to local regulations. In the growing markets of developing countries, assurance of product quality is crucial for all
components and throughout the value chain of solar photovoltaic (PV). However, in many countries, quality control of imported off-grid, distributed or utility-scale solar products is lacking and the market is exposed to low-quality imports. Maintaining quality controls for solar photovoltaic components, is further complicated by the large number of component providers active on the global market.
Regarding the manufacturing of components the situation differs per region and technology. For example, in Sub Sahara Africa and Pacific islands, there are only a small number or no manufacturers. About 95% of PV modules and inverters are imported in these regions. Particular challenges in LDCs and SIDS arise also due to the lack of qualification, know-how and experience regarding quality installations. A study by TÜV Rheinland identified that, throughout the world, installation faults were the cause of more than 50% of serious defects in PV plants. Incorrect installation, often due to minor errors such as loose screws or incorrectly inserted connectors, can thus have devastating effects on plant performance and financial returns.
To address these constraints the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA), with funding of the Government of France, are implementing the project the project “|Structuring of an International Network of Solar Technology and Application Resource Centres”, the STAR C project. The overall objective it to create a strong network of institutional capacities within ISA Member States to enhance quality infrastructure (QI) for the uptake of solar energy product and service markets, particularly in LDCs and SIDS.
The first phase of the STAR C project will focus on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Pacific Community (SPC)/ Pacific Island Forum (PIF). To have more impact and to create economies of scale, the STAR C has adopted a regional approach, which aims at cross-border harmonisation of solar product, service and qualification standards, shared resources and joint implementation on national level.
Past QI interventions of UNIDO have proven the added value and benefit of regional approaches. In this context, UNIDO has supported several economic communities, including ECOWAS, EAC and SPC, in the establishment of QI policies and regional energy centres under the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC) program. The STAR C is part of the south-south and triangular activities of the centres under the GN-SEC platform. The STAR C implementation will benefit for the established institutional infrastructure and lessons learned of these interventions. The STAR C project builds a strong partnership with the GN-SEC centres and regional QI infrastructure bodies and their national focal institutions (e.g. energy ministries and national standardisation bodies). ECREEE in Cape Verde, EACREEE 1F2 in Uganda and PCREEE in Tonga are already involved to some extend in regional standardisation processes and facilitate regional adoption and convening of key stakeholders (e.g. ministries, standardisation bodies, training and testing institutes) within the respective region.
The focus of this assignment however is on two of the three regions (EAC and SPC) to provide technical assistance on strengthening quality infrastructure (QI) frameworks. The targeted regions have already progress regarding sustainable energy standardisation on national and/or regional level. 2F3 As an outcome, the establishment of equivalent and trusted QI capabilities will help to create a level playing field for solar energy businesses in the regions to compete. Regional cooperation may also agree to share the costs involved in establishing QI institutions by developing regional bodies with mandates related to standardization or accreditation. There can also be arrangements for the sharing of testing and certification services. Such initiatives can assist countries to cost effectively and sustainably address their needs related to standardization, metrology, accreditation and other QI capabilities.
Specific objective of the assignment
In this context, UNIDO and ISA are seeking international advisory support for the development of regional QI frameworks and management systems for solar photovoltaics products and services in EAC and SPC 3F4. The assignment is complementary to another one, which focuses on the improvement of regional solar qualification frameworks and standards for solar thermal. A competitive tender is being launched simultaneously. Interested bidders can participate in both procurements.
The two concerned regions share significant solar potential and high interest in utility-scale, off-grid and distributed renewable energy systems, including stand-alone, and mini-grids applications. They are also strengthening efforts for local sustainable energy entrepreneurship and innovation. The regions are highly interested in improving QI frameworks for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The direct beneficiaries of the assignment will be the public and private key stakeholders involved in QI activities on regional and national level. The final beneficiaries are key stakeholders of the energy and power sector, including consumers, suppliers, ministries, rural electrification agencies, regulators and financiers, which will benefit from the increased accessibility of reliable and affordable solar energy products and services. The assignment has a duration of 12 months after effectiveness of the contract. Since the assignment builds strongly on existing QI processes in the respective regions, the contractor needs to demonstrate flexibility regarding the provision of services. There might be longer breaks due to multi-country review processes of documents or rescheduling of meetings.
Bidders are requested to submit their proposals by September 1st by registering on the UNIDO e-procurement portal (https://www.unido.org/get-involved-procurement/procurement-opportunities). In case of difficulties, please contact the UNIDO Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.