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Simplifying public procurement
Public clients such as federal, state and local authorities award contracts in the EU with an estimated annual volume of around 1,500 billion euros. Public clients and cooperatives are an interesting target group, especially for the solar energy system sector.
The amendment to EU procurement law implemented in April 2016 is to be used to make procurement procedures simpler, more flexible and more user-friendly in Germany as well. At the same time, legal security for companies and public clients is to be increased, taking social and ecological aspects into account. For this purpose, Article 43 of Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement allows the use of quality marks as a basis for tenders under certain conditions. Until now, contracting authorities had to list the criteria of a specific proof individually, without being allowed to demand a special quality mark.
The RAL quality mark 966 of the Quality Association for Solar Energy Systems e. V. meets the requirements for neutrality, transparency and equal opportunities to be used in the award procedure. What’s more, the use of the RAL quality mark 996 is intended as permanent proof of bidder qualification due to the obligatory internal and external monitoring. On the other hand, bidders who do not have the RAL quality mark must meet the requirements and submit a corresponding test certificate for each tender. A valid RAL certificate guarantees compliance with all relevant laws, ordinances and regulations. The RAL quality mark 966 can therefore be classified as particularly reliable and trustworthy. The construct of the continuous monitoring of the quality and test regulations up to the withdrawal of the certificates by the quality association has been unique for almost 100 years.
Public contracting authorities can streamline the contracting process significantly and make it more secure if they recognize the RAL quality mark in their tenders as proof of bidder qualification and the technical specification. The RAL Quality Assurance offers the tendering body an exact requirement profile through reliable criteria and performance requirements based on the current state of the art. A detailed examination of the offers is no longer necessary. Conversely, the bidder learns which requirements he must meet and which criteria the contracting authority uses to assess his suitability.
Quality marks are permitted as a basis for tender under the following conditions in accordance with Article 43 of Directive 2014/24/EU:
- The label requirements concern criteria related to the subject of the contract or the product and suitable for determining the characteristics that are the subject of the contract.
- The quality mark requirements are based on objectively verifiable and non-discriminatory criteria.
- The quality marks are introduced as part of an open and transparent process in which all relevant circles can participate.
- The quality marks are accessible to all concerned.
- The label requirements are set by a third party over which the economic operator applying for the label cannot exercise any significant influence.
Press release: Security Solar 02/25/2022
RAL quality mark ensures safety in the new solar sales system
As known from the media, the current order situation in the field of solar energy systems is worryingly high. It is obvious that this inevitably leads to difficulties in optimal planning and execution, says Joachim Westerhoff, chairman of the Quality Association for Solar Systems and Storage, which administers the RAL GZ 966 quality mark from the German Institute for Quality Assurance.
The persistently high demand for solar systems and storage poses a number of problems for the industry from the point of view of the general shortage of skilled workers. In order to be able to meet the customer’s request for order completion as quickly as possible, advice, calculation, assembly and service often have to be outsourced to several specialized companies and subcontractors. This is common nowadays and if done properly, there is nothing to complain about. Unfortunately, Westerhoff emphasizes that the coordination of the interlocking work and the organizational occupational safety are often neglected.
The experience of certifying the executing assembly companies has shown us that those involved often do not deal sufficiently with the safety-relevant intersections and organizational protective measures. Deficits in the ranking of protective measures and the selection of personal protective equipment are often identified, especially when working at heights where there is a risk of falling. Dangers from high electrical voltages, which are already present when installed, are often underestimated.
A solar panel generates electricity as soon as it is exposed to light. When wiring, there are usually more than 700 volts of direct current at the plug connectors of the modules. Battery storage systems must also be handled with extreme care during transport and storage. Damage or improper handling can quickly have dramatic consequences. Because the memories are already pre-charged by the manufacturer, mechanical influences can quickly lead to a short circuit and subsequent ignition of the battery.
We have adapted the certifications for awarding the quality mark RAL GZ-966 solar energy systems to the new circumstances in order to protect end customers from property damage and personal injury as well as legal liability risks. Many clients are not aware that they, as the builder and initiator of a construction project, have a traffic safety obligation according to §§ 823 ff. BGB. You can therefore be held liable for inadequate safety on the construction site, accidents involving personal injury and damage to third-party property.
The quality association supports all RAL GZ-966 quality mark holders in complying with occupational safety and environmental protection. Our occupational health and safety officers and TÜV-certified auditors for environmental management support the GZ-966 licensed companies in complying with applicable laws, standards and guidelines – not just in terms of occupational safety and environmental protection.
This is intended to help the end customer in particular, who wants a safe and problem-free system over a long period of time, and to protect him from damage as far as possible.