- We are looking back to 10 years ago when we started training in South Africa when a Thuringian photovoltaic company started to train specialists in Cape Town together with the German Society for Solar Energy.
How is all started
South Africa has the highest standard of living on the African continent, and offers one of the best-developed infrastructures in the western world and is one of the countries with the most sunny days per year. It is a region that is developing strongly, both economically and in terms of tourism, even though it is located in the Third World. But economic development is based on the transfer of knowledge, and that is exactly what is lacking here, Dieter Ortmann, Managing Director of maxx-solar & energie from Waltershausen, discovered during his first visit back then.
“A lot is possible here, but nobody knows how to do it!” summed up the 44-year-old. That’s why he decided to organise further education courses and scientific training together with the German Society for Solar Energy (DGS). The aim of the maxx-academy as a training and further education institute is on the one hand to give disadvantaged young people a perspective through sound training, and on the other hand to promote research at technical universities and universities of applied sciences. Helping people to help themselves is the motto here. Courses are offered for primary school children to get to know the new techniques at an early stage.
Antje Klaus-Vorreiter from the DGS regional association in Thuringia and maxx-solar & energie employees show the future specialists how solar power systems work, which factors are important and how efficiency can be optimised. “In this country, solar is mainly associated with solar thermal energy, but hardly with photovoltaics,” says Ortmann, who donated a 5.3 KW solar system for the Ithema Labantu community centre back in 2011.
A practical showpiece, the Thuringian noted, and invited the first young South Africans to test the courses. “The participants were very interested and would like to learn more about solar energy, as they see a high potential in this form of energy for their country, but also for themselves.” The sustainable development of the education centre is important to him. “These courses should also be continued in the future, as we have a demonstration system here and can thus explain the technology and function directly to the participants.”
Arguably the best solar PV training in Africa
Out of the early initiatives, the GREEN Solar Academy emerged an independent training provider and a spin-off of the maxx-solar academy. GREEN academies and course leaders follow the German DGS SolarSchool approach and all academies and courses are accredited by the German Solar Energy Society (DGS).
GREEN stands for Global Renewable Energy & Efficiency Network as our goal is not only to provide training but to build up a network of PV installers all over Africa. GREEN is the link between manufacturers, wholesalers, associations and PV installers, our alumni. The academy is now represented in no less than six country’s in Africa namely; South Africa, Ghana, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Full Circle – Alumni+ Programme
Having train thousands of aspiring solar installers, GREEN has come full circle with the GREEN Solar Academy Alumni+ Programme. Alumni+ is a programme for GREEN Alumni who are quality conscious and commit to continuous learning. The Alumni+ status is proof that installers have undergone solar training, successfully passed an exam and regularly renew their knowledge in a training or exam. In a transparent directory, attended trainings are listed so that end customers and business partners have a reference point for assessing the quality of a solar company. Additionally, GREEN provides a platform to exchange among installers and conserves and adds to the community’s knowledge.
Find out more about a solar training course that suits your needs HERE or Call: +27 (0) 10 312 6724, Whatsapp or email. More info on www.solar-training.org
Author: Bryan Groenendaal