Brazil is more advanced than most countries around the globe when it comes to clean energy, but the solar power presence is yet to be expanded in the energy matrix. This article outlines the certification process of solar panels to Brazil.
Brazil is known for having one of the most sustainable energy matrix in the world, with 41,2% of the domestic supply composed of renewable energy, mainly of sugarcane biomass and hydropower. On the contrary as many would expect, the country does not yet take advantage of its solar potential, which is extremely high due to the country’s geographic position.
Foreign manufacturers for photovoltaic systems see Brazil as a potential market, but in order to import and commercialise solar panels in Brazil, it is necessary for the products to be approved by Inmetro, and that they follow certain local standards.
Brazilian Labelling Programme (PBE)
With the increase in the consumption and commercialisation of solar panels, the Brazilian government has found it necessary to monitor and control them, which is why the Programa Brasileiro de Etiquetagem (or the Brazilian Labelling Programme, known as PBE) was created.
PBE is coordinated by Inmetro and mainly focuses on energy efficiency. Nowadays the programme is composed of different levels of Conformity Evaluation Programmes, that comprise of labelling electrical appliances and the labelling of products related to renewable energy, such as solar-thermal and photovoltaic equipment. The programmes related to solar panels are:
|Equipment to solar heating of water – solar-thermal|| Voluntary Application for Registration |
| Equipment and Systems for photovoltaic energy || Mandatory Application for Registration |
National Stamp of Energy Conservation (ENCE)
Both solar-thermal and photovoltaic equipment must have the National Stamp of Energy Conservation (ENCE), which is a conformity stamp that classifies equipment from “A," which means more efficient, to “E," less efficient, and provides other relevant information. In order to be classified in these categories, the products must be tested by Inmetro before being imported to Brazil.
Steps for Solar Panels Certification for Importing
All products comprised in the Conformity Evaluation Programme in the scope of PBE, have its importation authorised through the issuance of an Import License, known as LI, by Siscomex. The LI must be issued before the product embarks its country of origin. Which means, that the importation of solar-thermal and photovoltaic equipment doesn't have automatic licensing, the importer must register the LI before embarking.
1) LI to Equipment Samples
All importers must register an LI, short for import license, on Siscomex to the equipment samples that will be subjected to testing. To get the LI it is necessary to pay an Approval Tax, through the Union Collection Guide, which is BRL 60 as of January 2017. The LI will be analysed by Inmetro within a maximum of 60 days.
2) Tests in Laboratories – Conformity Evaluation
The tests performed in order to label equipment are realised by laboratories accredited by the Coordination Department of Inmetro, the Cgcre/Inmetro, according to the rules and requirements established by the Conformity Evaluation Requirements, known as RAC, that can be viewed here.
The equipment must be tested in the following laboratories:
- Research Center of Electric Energy (CEPEL)
- Research and Development (CPpD/ASE)
- Institute of Electrotechnical and Energy of the University of São Paulo (IEE/USP)
- Solar Energy Laboratory of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
- Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (GREEN/PUC-MG)
- Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ)
- Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (LABELO/PUC-RS)
3) Inmetro Certification of the Equipment Tested
The difference between the importation of solar-thermal and photovoltaic equipment is that the first ones, as was observed in the table above, are exempt from Inmetro registration.
This means that, after the Conformity Evaluation, the solar-thermal equipment can have its LI duly registered with Siscomex followed by the approval to be imported and commercialised in Brazil. Whilst the photovoltaic equipment still needs to be registered by Inmetro and to follow the procedures listed below.
To get this registration, it's necessary to log in to the registration system of Inmetro which is available here. Along with the application, it is necessary to attach the following documentation:
- Registration application
- Copy of the articles of association of the importer
- Commitment term of the conformity evaluation signed by the legal representative
- Notarised copy of the legal representative's identity card
- Test reports developed in the laboratory accredited to Inmetro
- Models of the labels that will be put on the products for commercialisation
- Other documents that could be required by Inmetro
It's also necessary to pay the Conformity Evaluation Tax of BRL 60 through the Union Collection Guide.
4) LI to Labelled and Certified Products
The importer must finally register the LI of the authorised equipment on Siscomex systems to begin the import of the equipment. To get the LI, it is necessary to pay an Approval Tax of BRL 60 through the Union Collection Guide.
5) Maintenance of the Inmetro Certification
The importer responsible for the certification, must renew it every year, otherwise the registration is cancelled. To maintain the certification, the person responsible must access the system and attach the new laboratory reports according to the rules established by the Conformity Evaluation Requirements.
- To import and register their equipment, foreign companies must have a legal representative in Brazil
- The LI is analysed in order of arrival, with the objective of promoting equal treatment to all suppliers
- Nowadays, Inmetro doesn't recognise analysis of foreign laboratories
- There isn't any bilateral or multilateral mutual recognition agreements to certification of products. Even in the case of equipment certified by foreign laboratory units. It's required to have the labelling and the certification by Inmetro