German solar academy opened in Kenya

The German Solar Academy opened with a one week training activity, which took place in June. Schott Solar reported that around 40 participants from Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda attended.

In addition to gaining knowledge on photovoltaic systems, including background information on the planning, installation, operation and maintenance of off-grid and grid-connected systems, the participants also visited the 515 kilowatt rooftop solar system at the new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters, which was installed by Energiebau Solarstromsysteme GmbH in February. It is said to be Africa’s largest.

In the future, Schott says that further training will be offered biannually, with the next session scheduled for October. ?Pilot solar systems will also be installed in Kenya and Tanzania as part of the course. ?

Bernd Wolff, Energiebau Solarstromsysteme, commented: "Through the training of local experts and artisans on high quality products and procedures we are aiming to establish solar systems as a competitive source of energy in East Africa.

"With this first training, we have had more applicants than capacity. This clearly shows us the high demand for trainings like this."

Jean-Pierre Muhire, owner of a small installation firm in Rwanda, attended the first training session. He stated: "I have worked all over East Africa, in Burundi, Kenya, South-Sudan and Rwanda. No one there, me included, knew of the superior quality which is available on the market."

Another attendee, Francis Maina, a mechanic in Kenya, added: "Until now we knew about grid-connected solar systems only from books. During the training at the German Solar Academy Nairobi I could observe for the first time how such a system works." ?

The solar academy is part of a three year partnership between Energiebau Solarstromsysteme GmbH, Schott Solar and SMA Solar Technology, with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ; formerly GTZ) and on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).