GSES has received funding from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to work with the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA) and Strathmore University to develop a training curriculum for grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) and hybrid systems. The Kenyan Government declares within their energy policy/law that solar technicians must be licensed to install systems. Currently, there are three classes of license:
- Class T1: to entitle the holder to carry out solar PV system installation work for single PV module or single battery DC systems of up to 100 Wp.
- Class T2: to entitle the holder to carry out solar PV system installation work for medium-sized PV systems; that is, systems with multiple modules of up to 300 Wp or multiple batteries, which may include an inverter.
- Class T3: to entitle the holder to carry out solar PV system installation work for advanced, including grid-connected and hybrid, solar PV systems.
GSES has been contracted to support the development of the T3 course and training material.
Geoff Stapleton, Managing Director of GSES, travelled to Kenya on 19 September 2013. After a night in Nairobi, he flew north to Lodwar, which has a diesel grid with a peak load of approximately 800 kW to 1 MW. Last year, a 70-kW PV array was connected at the power station. This is one of many diesel grids onto which the government is planning to install PV. Geoff inspected the system to gain an appreciation of the type of projects the government will be undertaking. He then returned to Nairobi to visit another typical application, a stand-alone system that provides power to some of the loads for a building and can also be used during a blackout. Although this is not a grid-connected system with battery backup, grid-connected systems are also attractive for commercial enterprises.
Tracking panels in Kenya.
Following the site visits, Geoff travelled to Lake Naivasha, approximately 90 km northwest of Nairobi, to be part of a 2-day workshop to develop the T3 curriculum. Interestingly, this location is where Joy and George Adamson of Born Free fame lived. GSES’ draft curriculum was presented at this workshop and Geoff spent the next 2 days refining this material with 10 people currently active in the industry.
Kenya T3 curriculum workshop group.
After travelling back to Nairobi, Geoff visited Strathmore University and presented the draft curriculum to stakeholders, other industry players and several university and technical college lecturers and trainers.
Following these visits, GSES is developing Kenyan versions of the following publications as well as the complete lesson plans for the T3 course:
- Stand Alone Power Supply Systems: Design and Installation
- Grid-Connected PV Systems: Design and Installation
All this material will be completed before Geoff returns to Kenya in early January 2014 to conduct a ‘train the trainers’ course. This course will teach local Kenyan educators the new curriculum and how to use the training resource material. The local training institutes will then conduct training for the industry so that people will be able to apply to obtain their T3 license.
A Kenyan hitchiker
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