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Solar Thermal Certification in Canada

by ROGER ABDO

What Certification is appropriate for Vacuum Tube Solar Collectors in Canada ?

Certification is an important indication of quality and minimum local codes requirements for safety and performance. This blogs explains what is required versus what's available in Canada.

Introduction

Prior to November 2016, CSA-F378 standard specified a set of technical requirements and test methods for glazed and unglazed liquid heating solar collectors and covered operating performance and marking requirements while CSA-F379 Standard specified similar set of technical requirements for solar fluid heating systems (including collector, heat exchanger, pumping module, control, piping etc...).

Unfortunately, CSA no longer has a program to Certify solar collectors. In October 2015, CSA issued a Certification Notice (ref No N15-156) announcing the withdrawal of certification and verification services for solar collectors and solar hot water systems. Certification Program officially ended in November 01st 2016.

Decision is the outcome of Canadian Federal Government decision to abolish the certification program, since it was too costly and the charged fees for certification and maintaining the certification did not cover the cost of the logistics (personnel and equipment) involved in this certification process.

That was due to the fact that most Vacuum Tube Manufacturer or OEM sellers, are located outside the US and Canada and that these panels were certified in their home countries by non government certification bodies such as Intertek, TUV, etc....

An alternative to CSA certifications is SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation) rating in the United States. SRCC and CSA Certifications have very similar requirements for certification and many Canadian Private Labeling Vacuum Tube Solar Collectors are using SRCC as an alternative Certification.

What Certification should my Solar Water Heating Collectors have In Canada?

SRCC certification is accepted in most locations in Canada and the United States. The situation in Canada is very confusing at the moment, since the CSA F378 standard has been withdrawn and CSA has ceased to offer certification for solar thermal equipment since November of 2016. That said, the CSA F379 and F383 standards are still in existence (but have not been updated for some time), but the Canadian Standard Association is not offering certification for Solar Collectors and Solar water heating systems.

SRRC is currently in discussions about harmonization of those standards with our ICC 900/SRCC 300 standard next year. The CSA standard committee felt that no harmonization of CSA F378 with ICC 901/SRCC 100 was necessary and therefore withdrew the standard about a year ago. The National Plumbing Code of Canada (NPCC) still references the CSA standard, but with no standard in existence any longer, most Canadian jurisdictions are using SRCC certification.

CSA Certification Program's Suspension Notice

NOTICE

The National Plumbing Code of Canada (NPCC) still references the CSA standard, but with no standard in existence any longer, most Canadian jurisdictions are using SRCC certification.

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