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The history of the Solar Keymark

In the 1990s the solar thermal market in Europe started to grow considerably, in part due to financial support programs in various countries. The European market grew quickly from 250.000 kWth to over 800.000 kWth of newly installed capacity per year.

Many companies started exporting their products into other European markets but found hurdles in the form of different requirements in the incentive programmes, that  became an obstacle to market entry.

As a result, if a company wanted to sell one collector to different countries in Europe, it had to undergo several different tests and gain additional certificates and approvals.

This process was extremely complicated, expensive and cumbersome and hindered the development of solar thermal in Europe and the growth of solar thermal manufacturers.

In 2003 the European Solar Thermal Industry and major testing institutes formulated the Solar Keymark Scheme rules as a unified and simple solution in order to get solar thermal products recognised all over Europe.

This work was done on the framework of an EU co-financed project running from 2000 until 2003: Solar Keymark I (ALTENER - Solar Keymark - AL/2000/144).

This work was followed up by Solar Keymark II(EU-IEE (Solar Keymark II - EIE/05/052/SI2.420194).

After these two project the Solar Keymark was the most successful Keymark scheme and more than two thirds of the collectors sold had Solar Keymark. Testing, inspection and certification were now organized into a single streamlined process and was recognised by authorities all over Europe.

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