Over the last two years the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) with support from partners such as GIZ and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) have been working together to establish a regional certification scheme for installers of solar PV systems. During the first phase, this certification scheme will focus on installers of simple off-grid PV systems, but it is planned that the scheme will gradually also cover other groups such as installers of on-grid PV systems, solar thermal heating or small wind power.
The purpose of the regional workshop in December 2015 in Praia, Cabo Verde, was to validate the Job Task Analysis (JTA) for installers of off-grid solar PV systems, and establish the structure of the regional certification scheme. It was the first time that representatives of all ECOWAS member states had the opportunity to discuss about the regional certification scheme.
The workshop was organized by ECREEE, IRENA and GIZ and supported by the Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) of the EUEI Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF), IRENA, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), LuxDevelopment and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The workshop outlined the vast opportunities for solar PV applications for energy generation in the ECOWAS region and stating that these opportunities need to be harvested to cope with increasing power demand and to provide energy access to all in the region. Furthermore, the need for capacity building was stressed as well as the importance of certification of solar PV installers and other RE professions to strengthen the quality and reliability of the regional solar PV market, its players, services and to increase the trust of the end users in the technology.
The JTA was validated by all the 15 countries. It was agreed that it is necessary to assure that the JTA will be included in the different trainings and courses given by the training centers. They must be internationally recognized.
The Certification Board was proposed to be composed of representatives of all stakeholder groups (Ministry of Energy, standardization, training institutions, and private sector) as well as partners as observers. Meanwhile the Technical Committee should be composed of individuals with an in-depth knowledge of market needs and experience with solar PV training and examination.