Sunday Tribune

25 Mar 2012

AS a result of the “explosion” of solar water heating suppliers in South Africa after load shedding in 2008, much confusion has been created in the industry. This confusion has been caused primarily by the influx of inexperienced new entrants into the market, and this has then been passed onto the consumer. Solar Beam therefore saw the need to start an accredited training centre, which has now been established at 480 Chris Hani/north Coast Road, in Briardene, Durban North.

After months of developing learning material, the centre achieved CETA accreditation to train installers of solar water heating systems in accordance with SAQA unit standard 244499, which incorporates all the relevant SANS standards.

Solar Beam Training Centre is the only accredited training centre in South Africa offering training from an established solar manufacturing and installation organisation. What makes the Solar Beam centre unique is its 100 years combined experience in installing these systems. The learning materials have been written specifically for the South African market, and this information has been drawn from the Solar Beam’s 35 years in operation.

Many poor solar installations are as a result of lack of knowledge and expertise. Installing a solar system is a unique skill, and although many assume that any plumber will be able to install a system, this is not the case. The current requirement in South Africa is that all solar water heating installers, whether they are plumbers or not, must be qualified to install a system. This means that they must be in possession of a Statement of Results certificate from CETA, or the full qualification that includes the elective unit standard 244499 “Install and Maintain Solar Water Heating Systems”. All learners at the Solar Beam Training Centre get the opportunity to install various systems at the centre, before going out as “trainee installers”. This workplace experience is crucial, as time at the centre itself is not sufficient for learners to be deemed confident.

A full Portfolio of Evidence (POE) has to be submitted by all learners for assessment. The portfolio includes knowledge based questionnaires, assignments and photographic proof of work-place installations, done under the supervision of a qualified installer. A final summative assessment is given after the POE is assessed, before learners qualify to receive their CETA certification.

For more information or to register, contact SolarBeam Training Centre on 031 5639585, via fax on 0865 806126 or e-mail