Solar just became safer with SAPVIA’s PV GreenCard

June 1, 2017

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, there has until now been no industry-wide, standardised PV licensing system or registration process. For this reason, SAPVIA worked with industry to develop the PV GreenCard as a means to promote quality and safe solar PV installations within the industry.

The PV GreenCard is a safety certification, a quality assurance standard, and training programme for solar PV installers. The most important aspect of the PV GreenCard is peace of mind that your solar PV installation complies with industry and international best practice and installers meet minimum internationally benchmarked quality and safety standards.

Access to a database of qualified and verifiable solar PV installers via the PV GreenCard website is another way that we promote access to safe and reliable PV installations.

The quality and safety of a certified PV GreenCard installer is 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.

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. This document can in turn be used as proof of compliance for insurance, finance, and regulatory purposes.

“At the moment we are seeing the residential, commercial, and industrial sector growing at about 5 MW per month, and this will rise significantly as soon as the new small-scale embedded generation regulations are finalised. As a result we have shifted our focus more towards the development of the rooftop market over the last two years,” says SAPVIA Chairman Davin Chown.

One of the reasons that PV is so popular in the residential space is that it is relatively inexpensive and quick to install. “All you really need to have in order to put PV on your roof is a certificate of compliance for insurance purposes. There are professional installers who will install 1 kWp (four panels) to over 1 MW (over 4000 panels) on a roof,” says Chown.

The PV GreenCard serves as a national standardised “as built report” that should be issued with every small-scale solar PV installation.

The most important aspect of the PV GreenCard is peace of mind that your solar PV installation complies with industry and international best practice and installers meet minimum internationally bench-marked quality and safety standards. Access to a database of qualified and verifiable solar PV installers via the PV GreenCard website is another way that we can promote access to safe and reliable PV installations.

Our partners have been critical in the development of this quality initiative and we are grateful for the assistance of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), BSW Solar, GreenCape, SARETEC. DGS Berlin has worked closely with us as development partners together with various government departments and SAPVIA members who have contributed throughout the development process.

The small-scale embedded generation revolution is already underway and as the industry body we have a crucial role to play in ensuring that installations standards are of a high quality and comply with municipal and national electrical regulations.

www.pvgreencard.co.za