Are You Thinking of a Career in the Solar Industry? Which Course is Right for You?

  • The solar industry never stops growing and offers lots of opportunities for many different people.
  • But a growing industry also means growing complexity and plenty of professional paths that you can choose from.
  • As a training provider, our job is to offer courses that can get you on the right path, but which one is the right one?

In order to find out, look at your pre-knowledge first. If you have an electrical or technical background you will be able to start on a different level than people starting from scratch. Useful pre-knowledge is any electrical qualification (electrician or electrical engineering) or if you have been working with PV or electrical installations for a while already. General technical or engineering education also enables you to start with a faster pace: you are used to technical concepts and the thinking processes that are involved.

In this case, you are probably ready to start right away with our SuperSolarSchool. This 5-day solar installation training moves at a brisk pace and relies on prior basic knowledge of electricity and a fair number of equations and calculations. It gives an overview of the whole package: basics, component selection, installation, planning and design, O&M. A bonus is that the course is endorsed by SAPVIA under the PV GreenCard programme. It’s the first step on the road to obtaining a PV GreenCard qualification.This course also earns you 5 CPD credits under ECSA, validated by the SAIEE

‘Keep in mind that once you have completed one training with us, you will automatically receive a 10% discount on any future trainings and assessments through GREEN.’

In our experience, non-technical folk can find this 5-day comprehensive training overwhelming. In this instance, we suggest you start with our 3-day Solar 101 course instead. Solar 101 provides you with the fundamentals you need to understand when starting out in the PV industry. You will learn about the basics of solar electricity, the functionality of PV system components, the quality and selection criteria of PV components, and system operation and maintenance. You’ll walk out with an understanding of the technical terms, and the ability to sell PV systems, and grasp the business side of PV, without having to go into deep technical detail.

Image credit: GREEN Solar Academy

After you have gained basic knowledge, the door is open to learn more. If you are going after the PV GreenCard, you should continue with the SuperSolarSchool . The Solar 101 already covered the general topics but in SuperSolarSchool you will go through them again, now from a more technical perspective. The repetition and different angles of approach help to deepen the knowledge and you will be able to understand even the parts that seemed like a closed book for you at the beginning.

The same applies for the practical. The PV Mounter is a 2-day course that can be added basically at any time. It is almost 100% practical, you work in a group and plan a practical installation together, get your material ready and then install and wire two PV systems. It’s a helpful opportunity to practice installation, either as basic training for you and your installation team, or as additional training before you do the practical PV GreenCard Assessment. A big plus is that you get to work on different roof types. So if you already did an installation during SuperSolarSchool, you can choose a roof you haven’t installed on before; available roof types are tile, IBR, or seam roofs, depending on the Academy where you do the training.

‘At the end of the day, if you want a satisfying and effective training, it’s vital you select the courses that are a good fit for your skills level and that also meet your expectations.’

The final step after lots of training is certification. GREEN offers different options for that. One is the PV GreenCard Assessment . It can be compared to a trade test for solar PV systems. It consists of a theoretical exam and a practical part where installers need to prove their installation skills. After passing the assessment, you become a SAPVIA PV GreenCard-certified solar installer. This assessment is available at GREEN Solar Academies in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Ballito.

Another option for certification are the GREEN online exams  certified by the German Solar Energy Society (DGS).  There’s a GREEN PV Designer exam and a GREEN PV Installer exam and both are completed online over the course of a weekend, open-book style. Graduates of GREEN courses such as SuperSolarSchool, PV Mounter and Commercial PV System Designer  are encouraged to complete at least one, and the GREEN PV Installer exam in particular is ideal preparation for the PV GreenCard Assessment.

At the end of the day, if you want a satisfying and effective training, it’s vital you select the courses that are a good fit for your skills level and that also meet your expectations. You can download the datasheets  of each of the trainings mentioned in this article from our website and read in more detail the topics that will be covered and the suggested target group that will benefit most from that training.

For more information on the best starting place for you, visit the Course Guide page: https://solar-training.org/course-guide/ and contact them on +27 (0) 10 312 6724 or info@solar-training.org

BONUS: GREEN Solar Academy wants to encourage more women to explore a career in solar energy. In celebration of Women’s Month, we’re giving women 15% OFF ANY 2022 training they register and pay for between now and 31 August. And anyone who books on the same invoice with them, will also receive 15% OFF that training!

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Hands on practical training is the name of the game at the Green Solar Academy. Credit: Green Solar Academy

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