As COVID-19 continues to shed jobs across sectors, the renewable energy sector continues to offer employment prospects for trained South Africans

The renewable energy sector has remained relatively unscathed in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc with the economy and caused widespread job losses across sectors.
 
It has been reported that 3-million South African’s lost their jobs after just the first month of the Covid-19 lockdown. That’s because businesses were forced to shut their doors which restricted economic activity across the country. Since then, most business have re-opened following the country’s entry into lockdown level 2 restrictions.

 

Vivian Bluemel, Director of the GREEN Solar Academy, explains: “Unlike other sectors, solar energy caters for the need of reliable electricity across different market segments - private citizens, business and government. As a result, all solar companies that I spoke to confirmed that there were no steep cuts, and some companies also carried on working as ‘essential providers’ during the level 4 lockdown.”
 
The Pan African GREEN Solar Academy is an independent training provider with a training approach based on the DGS Solar School founded by the German Solar Energy Society (DGS).
 
The courses offered by GREEN are accredited by the German Solar Energy Society DGS and are internationally recognized. Since inception, more than 2000 engineers, architects, craftsmen and interested citizens have taken part in GREEN Solar Academy Training courses in Southern Africa and the rest of Africa.
 
GREEN stands for Global Renewable Energy and Efficiency Network and the 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.
 
Bluemel explains: “Solar energy is not rocket science and offers great opportunities for a wide range of people. Nevertheless, when dealing with electricity there is a lot that can go wrong, so starting off with the right training is key.”
 
GREEN regularly helps all kind of people to get into the solar business such as;

  • Electricians, technicians and artisans
  • Security companies
  • Plumbing and climate control businesses
  • New employees of solar companies
  • Professionals looking for new challenges
  • Entrepreneurs and business founders

The GREEN Solar Academy is an independent, 100% women owned solar training provider and recently partnered with youth-based NGO Salesian Life Choices to deliver a series of short courses introducing Solar PV to those living and working in the mother city.
 
About the Academy’s new home
 
In 2019, Salesian Life Choices joined the GREEN Solar Academy network as a host partner. Life Choices is part of the Salesians of Don Bosco family - active all over the world in supporting disadvantaged and marginalised young people. Since 2005, Life Choices has successfully delivered youth-friendly services and training programmes on Family Stability, Health, Education, Leadership Skills and Employment.
 
The GREEN Academy Cape Town is headed by Matt Fisher who also manages Life Choices' income generation incubator New Ventures Studio.
 
“We’re very excited to add GREEN Solar Training to our portfolio. We have a clearly defined sustainable income strategy and renewables ticks all the boxes. The objective is to not only become the academy partner in Cape Town for paid courses, but to also build up a sponsored solar training programme for our youth together with GREEN. If you’re interested in joining the green-economy revolution, this course is an excellent first step. ”
 
GREEN Solar courses run every 6 weeks with the next one coming up on 14-18 Sep 2020. During Covid, the courses are limited to 12 people and range from R4,900 - R12,500 per person, with regular early-bird and promotional specials available.
 
In recognition of the renewable sector’s value, earlier this year the government released an updated Integrated resource Plan (IRP 2019) and Roadmap for Eskom, which aims to increase renewables’ contribution to the grid. The share of solar photovoltaics (PV), onshore wind and concentrated solar power (CSP) is set to increase, from around 5% of the current energy mix to almost 25% by 2030.
 
The projected increase of renewables into the grid will require investment in skilled labour among others, making the sector one of the few that will have a guaranteed upward trajectory of growth in this uncertain time.
 
Fisher explains that the sector requires skilled people and that there is a low barrier to entry in the sector: “Recently we had a film director join our Super Solar School training, he felt that solar energy is the future and a far more secure career path than film in order to provide for his family. So, in the middle of his life he just opted to change career paths.”
 
Interactive exercises make the course content easy to understand and interesting to follow. Lecturers with practical experience connect the participants with the industry so it is the ideal course for everyone wanting the best value for money and time.
 
For more information on participating in the next Green Super Solar School training (14-18 September 2020) visit www.solar-training.org, email info@solar-training.org or call us on +27(0)21 825 9713.

Date published: 
Friday, 11 September, 2020

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