Since 2014, Strathmore University’s Energy Research Centre (SERC) has been offering training on solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems, mostly to engineers and technicians. Now, anyone interested in learning about how to install the systems can do so at SERC and several technical institutions.
This is after GIZ funded the training of trainers of trainers (ToTs) for 40 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in the country, at SERC.
“These trainers have been equipped to teach solar PV installation following the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) curriculum,” says SERC quality engineer, Ignatius Maranga.
Already, the training is helping increase the uptake of solar PV systems in the country, thus boosting the tapping of a key renewable energy source, says, Mr Maranga.
SERC, established in 2012 to offer renewable energy consultancy services, has trained 4,000 engineers and technicians in the course on how to design, install and maintain PV systems. “Majority are engineers and technicians who want to seek licensing by EPRA as solar PV installers,” explains Mr Maranga.
He says whereas majority of trainees who undergo the Tier 3 course level training at SERC are engineers, experienced technicians also go through the course. SERC also offers tiers 1 and 2 course level, which are the basic and intermediate levels of the courses respectively.
The technical courses are classified according to EPRA’s Solar PV regulations of 2012. People who undergo the Tier 1 training are capable of installing DC systems of up to 100 watts. Those who have undergone Tier 2 training can design, install and maintain standalone PV systems of up to 300 watts. Those who complete the Tier 3 training have no limit as to the capacity of the PV solar systems they can install in household, commercial and industrial buildings.
Mr Maranga says demand for the training is “very high as we run them once every month, and the number per class are 15.” He, however, says solar water pumping and solar cooling courses run twice a year.
Mr Maranga added that the increase in the number of skilled electrical engineers and technicians is enabling more individuals and organisations to adopt solar PV technology. It has also spurred SERC to develop some specific courses, such as solar water pumping and solar cooling systems training.
Actors in the humanitarian sector, such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, and ICRC have funded the training of their engineers and technicians.
SERC developed a solar cooling training curriculum with the support of Germany’s University of Hohenheim, Solar Cooling Engineering and funding from GIZ. Three small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the first beneficiaries of solar cooling systems developed after the course. These are: a herbs farm in Thika, a dairy farm in Tongaren, and Dunga Beach for fish farming.
This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27 th August 2023 by email@example.com
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