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Lighting Global moves towards international quality test for off-grid lighting products

The Lighting Global Quality Assurance framework is going global in response to a growing need for a stable, harmonized approach to identify good-quality off-grid lighting products.

Lighting Global is currently working with the U.S. Department of Energy to institutionalize its test methods and quality metrics through the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) — a key stepping stone towards globally harmonized quality assurance.

“The main goal of working with the IEC is international harmonization of test methods for off-grid lighting products across multiple countries and regions.

Harmonization brings benefits to manufacturers and buyers alike, as it means that results from testing under the method would be valid across all programs, countries, and regions that adopt the IEC test methods in full,” says Arne Jacobson, technical lead for Lighting Global’s quality assurance program and a member of the IEC working group that is working on the effort.

A globally harmonized quality assurance framework eliminates the need to test products multiple times for different markets, reducing the quality assurance costs incurred by companies. In the long run, these cost savings should in turn benefit buyers through lower pricing for quality assured products, he says.

The test methods submitted through the IEC are based on the Lighting Global Quality Test Method (LG-QTM) version 3.0 . This test method, which was originally developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, was revised earlier this year following extensive stakeholder input in a process managed by the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University.

A draft technical specification document that includes the test methods was submitted to the IEC through Joint Working Group 1 (JWG1) of Technical Committee 82 (TC82) and accepted as a committee draft in May. It was then released to national committees associated with TC82 in June for review.

Review comments from national committees are due on September 21, 2012. It is possible that the harmonized test methods and quality metrics will be approved and published by IEC before the end of the year.