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Training of Photovoltaic Installers (PVTRIN)

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The high photovoltaic market growth rates, further favoured by the EU supporting policies and the favourable national regulatory frameworks, may cause some concern to the PV industry due to the lack of adequately skilled workforce for PV installation and maintenance. Furthermore, the interested parties (manufacturers, developers, investors) seek skills certification and quality assurance in all phases of a PV installation (design, installation and maintenance).The PVTRIN (Training of Photovoltaic Installers) project addressed the market needs by developing a training and certification scheme for technicians who are active in the installation and maintenance of small-scale PV systems.This scheme incorporates the criteria set by the 2009/28/EC Directive for qualification schemes and certified training courses in each Member State, taking into account the national framework and legislation. Initially, it has been implemented in six (6) countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Spain. In order to incorporate the genuine market needs and to assure the broadest possible support, the key stakeholder groups were involved in the project’s activities.

Results

  • Eight (8) pilot training courses implemented in six (6) countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Spain); a pool of 185 skilled/certified PV installers, 145 already certified;
  • Operational certification/qualification scheme for PV installers ;
  • Training "package" for installers and their trainers (handbooks, e-learning platform, assessment forms; other training materials/tools); also for training providers, assessors and certification bodies;
  • All key stakeholder groups actively involved and supported the initiative;
  • More than 1.000.000 EU citizens informed; more than 40.000 technicians aware of the scheme in EU level.
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Lessons learned

  • The active engagement of the key stakeholders groups in the PVTRIN scheme’s development process was critical to ensure that the scheme addresses the actual needs of the market and of the technicians, also and to reinforce its value and credibility; therefore this was essential for the training and qualification scheme acknowledgement and sustainability.
  • The major differences in legal aspects also the diversity of building and PV requirements amongst countries, makes difficult to harmonise horizontally a very detailed scheme; qualification schemes for installers have to take into account the national markets different aspects, and the national legislative framework about technicians training/ qualifications/ certification. Common requirements set have to be verified by competent bodies at national level.
  • Although the PV market recognises the high risk of accidents and technical failures due to the lack of qualified technicians, and supports that established quality standards and certification schemes will improve the market function and competiveness, they are actual opposite of any measure adds more bureaucratic barriers and may increase the cost for the investors, especially within the current economic crisis period. There is need to highlight that the appropriate qualified workforce will save the market from bad installations and safety accidents, safeguarding the PV technology’s credibility and will protect the European markets from low cost imports.
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Contact

Environmental Engineering Department/Technical University of Crete
Greece
Contact point: 
Name: 
Theocharis Tsoutsos
Tel: 
+302821037825
Name: 
Prof. Theocharis Tsoutsos
Tel: 
+30 28210 37825

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In brief

Duration:
01/05/2010 to 30/04/2013
Contract number: 
IEE/09/928

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