Installing a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system was for many years considered an expensive luxury but this is no longer the case. Drastic reductions in the cost of solar panels coupled with rising electricity tariffs and uncertainty of supply have made solar PV increasingly attractive to both residential and commercial energy users.
Although solar PV has become increasingly popular in the residential, commercial and industrial market segment over the last several years, until now there has been no industry-wide, standardised PV licensing system or registration process.
For this reason the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) worked with industry and other partners to develop the PV GreenCard, a quality certification mechanism based on the German PV Passport (“PV-Anlagenausweis”), as a means to promote quality and safe Solar PV installations within the industry.
The PV GreenCard is a safety certification and training programme for solar PV installers. It offers peace of mind for customers that their Solar PV installation complies with industry and international best practice and that installers meet minimum internationally bench-marked quality and safety standards.
On completion of an installation, a certified PV GreenCard installer will issue the client with both a digital and physical document that details all of the specifications of the solar PV system as well as a checklist that all of the required installation steps have been completed to the required standard.
The PV GreenCard serves as a national standardised “as-built-report” that should be issued with every small-scale Solar PV installation. It can in turn be used as proof of compliance for insurance, finance, and regulatory purposes.
The quality and safety of a certified PV GreenCard installer are assured via the specialised education and training provided to solar PV installers prior to them being certified and registered on the PV GreenCard database.
This certification means that these installers are proficient and compliant with all of the relevant national and municipal electrical regulations.
The PV GreenCard has been launched in Johannesburg on May 26, 2017, and was developed in close cooperation with the German Solar PV Industry Association (BSW Solar), GreenCape and SARETEC. The PV GreenCard is modelled on the German PV Passport and was developed with support from the German Government under the South African German Energy Programme (SAGEN), implemented by GIZ.