Monday, September 28, 2015

TAREA outlines features that identify counterfeit solar panels.

Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) has outlined some basic distinguishing features which could direct buyers of solar panels be able to identify between genuine and substandard products whose supply in the local market is flooded with cheap imports. TAREA’s Executive Secretary Engineer Mathew Matimbwi said in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that many people in the country have been the victims of counterfeit panels as it is hard for them to distinguish fake ones from original ones. He noted that, most solar panels assortments sold in the country do not meet international standards and that is why suppliers of such products are reluctant to seek for certification from Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS). Elaborating about their physical characteristics Eng. Matimbwi disclosed that most panels displayed in markets at various shops all over the  country are marked with an ‘inscription to identify ‘Germany Technology’ while others marked ‘Cells from Germany’ but do not show the country of origin where they have been manufactured. “This is wrong as it is a kind of a business trick used to lure buyers into making them believe such products must have been manufactured in Germany whereas in the real sense is not”, he said adding that this is against the regulations governing local standards as required by TBS. He further clarified that other panels are indicated with the words that are not spelt correctly and are intentionally left to be printed on panels to confuse buyers. Such words he noted are ‘Desinged in Germany’ which is wrongly spelt from the real word which should have been written ‘Designed in Germany’. “These are some of the distinguishing features manufacturers of counterfeit solar panel products use purporting to have been acquired from Germany”, he said and added that even if such sellers are brought before the court of law are less to be convicted as such inscriptions is not a guarantee to prove that are products from Germany. Another physical characteristic that Eng. Matimbwi noted is where some solar panel do not have information about their technical data which are normally indicated at the back of a panel. 

Solar panels some of which are said to be substandard

The technical data entails various module types under which a panel is manufactured with and these are recognized by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and Commission of Electricity (CE). According to him, it is surprising to note that most solar panels which have flooded the local market do not have these features and to be able to recognize these, a panel sheet looks like having been manufactured with two different colours. Having known of all these discrepancies, sellers resort not to give guarantee time to potential buyers of such products for fear of their short lifespan, he said and urged buyers of such products to consult solar experts while going to shop so that they might buy genuine products. Two weeks ago TBS being a sole national certification body for genuine products in the country cautioned the general public against the presence of fake solar panels which have flooded the market,. and promised to launch a crackdown to net unscrupulous traders who engage in importing such products. TBS Public Relations Manager Roida Andusamile said that, a team of experts from TBS were dispatched out and did impromptu visits to businessmen in areas like Kariakoo, Keko and along Msimbazi business complex in Dar es Salaam and managed to net 17 samples of faked solar panels. In light of prevailing situation in some shops in the country, TBS acting Manager for Quality Assurance Ashura Katunzi has urged the public to purchase the electronic appliances and especially solar power gadgets only in certified and legally recognized outlets. She asserted that, most of the fake panels confiscated by the bureau come from China while others carried fake label of the respective countries such as Germany.

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