SERC and ASU concludes the USAID supported VOCTEC PV Training of Trainers
16th July 2014
The 8- day training workshop moderated by Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC), facilitated by Arizona State University (ASU) came to a close today with Professor Izael Da Silva, Director SERC, and Bullent Bicer from ASU awarding the 15 professionals with certificates of participation.
This initiative is a very important step to strengthen the Solar PV industry in Kenya. ASU, with financial support from USAID was the main organizer of this program which is inserted in the overall VOCTEC which stands for Vocational Training for Clear Energy.
The 15 participants who were selected from 11 Technical Training Institutions (TTIs), while the other 4 were from universities, also engaged in the solar PV training. The next step is to have the participants having their skills recognized by NITA the National Industrial Training Authority at T1 and T2 levels.
Once accredited by BITA the trained participants can apply for a license to trade by the Energy Regulatory Agency ERA. As per the 2012 approved regulations, no practitioner is permitted to install solar panels or get contracted for such jobs without the NITA certification and ERC license.
Once this is achieved, the next step is to devise ways of getting the TTIs furnished with suitable equipment to ensure that the students in these institutions are able to design, install and maintain a solar system as large as 300 Watts with inverters and battery bank.
The East African region is no different from Kenya when it comes to capacity building for the solar industry. With the help of German Development Agency, (GIZ), SERC is committed to help the other East African countries to comply with the regulations thus achieving high quality standards. With a sizable number of professionals the region will be in position to harvest the solar resources it has and thus reduce energy poverty and improve competitiveness in industry.
The project input so far includes:
- Strathmore Universitys 600kW solar photo- voltaic (PV) power plant grid which connects and delivers power to cover all the needs of the university during the day. The funds for this project came in the form of a soft-loan given by the Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD).
- A 10kW solar PV/Diesel hybrid system, which will be used as an essential tool for the training of engineers at T3 level.
- A Solar PV international standards testing laboratory fully supported by GIZ. The project includes a training of Kenyans by the Fraunhofer Institute from Germany.