The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) held a Solar PV Design and Installation Guidelines sensitization workshop on June 5, 2015, at Strathmore Business School.
The Objective of this initiative was to build capacity in the Kenyan Solar PV sector, by developing Industry best practices guidelines covering the proficient design, retrofitting, fault diagnosis and installation practice for:
1) Standalone PV systems;
2) Grid connected PV systems;
3) Hybrid systems comprising Solar PV systems and fuel-fired Generators.
Geof Stapleton the lead expert assisting with the development of the guidelines said, ‘ Kenya is an advanced and leading country in solar technology.’
There are now approximately 800-1000 Solar PV technicians working in the Kenyan market. The majority of these technicians are skilled but untrained; however, these practitioners provide a necessary service to end-users, as the demand for solar PV systems is high especially in rural areas of the country. Few of these practitioners have experience installing multi kW or MW scale installations.
To rectify this lack of information, the Energy Regulatory Commission gazetted the Solar PV Regulations on September 28th, 2012. These regulations have been developed with the intention of improving the delivery of products and services within the Solar PV sector.
The regulations require that only licensed technicians are allowed to design and install solar PV systems. For licensing, technicians are required to have undertaken a solar training course allowing them to practice as T1, T2, or T3 technicians.
During the development of the Advanced Course (Class T3), it was identified that although international technical specifications and local Solar PV regulations exist for the installation of Solar PV systems, Kenya did not have industry guidelines detailing the best practices for the design and installation of Stand-alone PV systems; Grid-connected PV systems and Hybrid Power systems (comprising Solar PV systems, and Diesel (or other fuel) Generators.
Similar industry based guidelines have been developed at a national and regional level such as for the United Kingdom, Australia and Pacific Islands.