CERTIFICATION INFO - SOLAR COLLECTOR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
In November of 1980 SRCC established its certification and rating program for solar collectors. The program provides a means for evaluating the maintainability of solar collectors and a thermal performance rating characteristic of all-day energy output of a solar collector under prescribed rating conditions.
The scope of the program includes swimming pool and recreational heating, space heating, cooling, and water heating. The program is administered according to SRCC Document OG-100, "Operating Guidelines for Certifying Solar Collectors," and its companion document, SRCC Standard 100, "Test Methods and Minimum Standards for Certifying Solar Collectors."
Program participation is voluntary and all manufacturers of applicable products are eligible to participate in the SRCC solar collector certification program.
In order for a collector model to be certified and rated by SRCC, the collector must first pass a series of tests performed on a sample unit that has been randomly selected by SRCC from the manufacturer's production. The series of tests are conducted according to the methods specified in SRCC Standard 100 by an independent laboratory approved by SRCC.
Testing is a combination of durability and performance with the test procedures for performance being specified by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE Standard 93, "Methods of Testing to Determine the Thermal Performance of Solar Collectors," and ASHRAE Standard 96, "Methods to Testing to Determine the Thermal Performance of Unglazed, Flat Plate, Liquid Solar Collectors.")
SRCC calculates collector ratings according to SRCC Document RM-1, "Methodology for Determining the Thermal Performance Rating for Solar Collectors." This rating methodology utilizes the data from the ASHRAE test on the collector. The SRCC thermal performance rating is an analytically derived set of number representing the characteristic all-day energy output of the solar collector under prescribed rating conditions. It is valid only when either of the two ASHRAE standards sufficiently characterize the thermal performance of the collector panel. The SRCC rating numbers are valid only for the fluid and flow rate used to generate the test data. The ratings are only measures of performance under a specified set of conditions. Since the performance of a solar collector will vary from minute to minute, depending upon the amount of sunshine, the air temperature, the collector's tilt and orientation, etc., the purpose of the rating is to show a consumer how two or more collectors would perform under an assumed set of conditions.
The SRCC collector performance ratings are, in some respects, analogous to energy efficiency ratings as applied to household appliances and mileage ratings as applied to automobiles. The numbers contained on the SRCC label say to the solar user that under standard conditions this collector will collect "x" number of Btus (British Thermal Units), which may or may not be as many as a competing model.