The government has banned the sales, distribution and commercial advertisements of batteries of solar home system without the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution’s standard mark to check substandard products in the country.
The ban will come into force on December 7, according to an industries ministry gazette notification.
The ministry on October 6 issued the notification prohibiting the sales, distribution and commercial advertisements of three products, including solar batteries, if the products are not consistent with the Bangladesh standards adopted by the BSTI.
The two other products are wafer biscuits (the first revision) and fruit drinks (the second revision), the notification said.
The ministry through a separate notification also made the BSTI certification mandatory for the products.
Officials said that the ministry made the decision to prevent the use of sub-standard batteries in SHS for storage of renewable energy.
They said that the new regulations would be applicable to secondary cells and batteries for renewable energy storage-general requirements and methods of test-part: photovoltaic offgrid application.
They said that importers and manufacturers of the products would have to comply with the Bangladesh standards the sales, distribution and marketing of the products.
For that they will have to obtain BSTI certification mark licence after getting their products tested, they said.
The BSTI has also prepared the national standards, a guideline for product and service standards, for other related products, including solar module/panels, inverter, solar storage controller and other devices to ensure quality of the products.
The institution will soon complete the procedures to bring solar panels under its mandatory certification system.
The use of SHS for electricity has been increasing in the country while complaints from consumers about low quality of solar batteries are also rising.
The government agencies also expressed their concerns that the low-quality imported solar panels and batteries were impeding the growth of renewable energy in the country.
Earlier in October last year, the Power Division of the power, energy and mineral resources ministry requested the commerce ministry to include the solar panels and components in the next import policy order for mandatory verification by the BSTI.
The Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) also raised concerns about the quality of the products, saying that it affected the confidence of consumers as the products did not last as expected.
Short duration of the components also increase the cost of renewable energy.
The Solar Module Manufacturers’ Association has also demanded checking of import of low-quality solar modules and other components and ensuring quality control mechanism for the products.
The association on several occasions demanded that nobody should be allowed to import and produce solar panels and accessories without BSTI certification.
Seven or eight local firms are now producing solar modules and related components in the country.