Quality control activities for solar products started


News

Solar companies certified by the Good Solar™ Quality Assurance scheme, created by the AFD/EU-funded Solar Microfinance Program, commit to promoting high-quality solar products, to providing customer care services to a defined standard and have to undergo regular inspections to confirm their compliance with the standards.

Following the first installations of certified solar home systems under the AFD/EU-funded Solar Microfinance Program, the program has now begun implementation of its quality control activities. A comprehensive quality control mechanism ensures that accredited solar companies comply with the Good Solar™ quality standards continuously during their participation in the program. Quality control activities are used to spot quality deviations early, to request corrective actions, and to offer tailored engineering support to accredited solar companies as needed to improve the quality of their offerings.

Two types of quality control activities are central to the program’s quality assurance framework: 1.) On-going Quality Control Activities; and 2.) Large-scale Annual Technical Audits. On a routine basis, in-between the large-scale annual technical audit, the program draws random samples from its customer database and conducts a variety of quality control activities such as physical inspections of the products in the customer households; review of sales and warranty documents provided to customers; phone calls to customers to get feedback on the service performance of the accredited solar company and functioning of/satisfaction with the product; test calls to solar companies’ customer service hotlines; and mystery shopping where our Quality Inspectors pose as potential customers to assess the pre-sales performance of the accredited solar companies’ sales and technician staff.

Mid-2016, preparations for the first Annual Technical Audit will begin that will see a large number of Quality Inspectors travel nationwide to conduct quality control activities for a sizeable sample of products deployed in customer households.

The Solar Microfinance Program is funded by the French Development Agency AFD and the European Union.