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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION THAT HAS PASSED THE END DATE: 

Occupational Certificate: Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
99447  Occupational Certificate: Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician 
ORIGINATOR
Development Quality Partner - MERSETA Construction 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Occupational Certificate  Field 12 - Physical Planning and Construction  Electrical Infrastructure Construction 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  344  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 091/21  2021-07-01  2023-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician.

A Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician performs maintenance (preventative, scheduled, unscheduled) on PV systems in compliance with Department of Energy and related regulations, isolate the PV system (in the case of a PV farm this is done with authorisation obtained from the plant controller); perform fault finding (trouble-shooting), identify deficiencies; analyse information, carry out maintenance, repair (including removing and replacing components), and find solutions to a range of problems. A Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician may be employed either at a photovoltaic farm or at standalone PV installations. Hence, there is the Photovoltaic (PV) Service Technician (PV Farm) and the Photovoltaic (PV) Service Technician (Standalone Installation).

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Plan for the installation of a photovoltaic system.
  • Install a photovoltaic system.
  • Maintain, diagnose and repair electrical and mechanical components of PV systems.

    Rationale:
    South Africa has many resources of renewable energy like sunshine and wind. Hence, there has been a drive to harness and exploit renewable energy, which is gaining huge momentum. This stems from two very important factors: firstly, the possibility of decreasing dependence on coal-fired power stations and thereby reducing the concomitant degradation of the environment and, secondly, the recurrent energy generation problems being experienced nationally.

    A number of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) farms have been set-up across the country and many companies and individuals have stand-alone roof-top installations, all of which require Solar PV Technicians to maintain, service and repair them.

    Proficiencies recognised by industry as employment opportunities were identified in this occupation. These are:
  • Solar Photovoltaic Standalone Installation.
  • Solar Photovoltaic Standalone System Mounting.
  • Solar Photovoltaic Farm Servicing.
  • Solar Photovoltaic Standalone Servicing.
    During the development of this occupational qualification the above mentioned proficiencies were provided for as part qualifications.
    Typical learners for this qualification are artisans, school leavers and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college graduates.
    Learners who enters this qualification with competencies related to this qualification will receive recognition and thus may be able to complete the qualification in a much shorter time.
    These Solar PV Service Technicians will either be employed on solar PV farms or companies that install and maintain solar PV installations.
    Those with an entrepreneurial drive may establish their own businesses and create employment for others. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    Recognition of Prior Learning (PRL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment: Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related Curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a Statement of Results or certifying a Work Experience Record.

    RPL for access to the qualification: Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
  • NQF Level 4 qualification with mathematics. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge and Practical Skill Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 313109000-KM-01, Workplace fundamentals, Level 4, 9 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-02, Tools, equipment and materials, Level 4, 7 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-03, Electricity and electronics, Level 4, 18 Credits
  • 313109000-KM-04, Wireways, wiring and earthing, Level 4, 11 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-05, Electrical supply systems and transformers, Level 4, 9 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-06, Protection systems and lightning protection, Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-07, Power plant basics, power conditioning and control, switchgear and control gear, Level 4, 7 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-08, Rotating electrical machinery, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-09, Mechanics, hydraulics and actuators, Level 4, 5 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-10, Renewable energy, Level 4, 3 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-11, Components of PV systems, Level 4, 20 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-12, Designing and installing grid-connected and stand-alone PV systems, Level 5, 7 Credits.
  • 313109000-KM-13, Maintenance, troubleshooting, fault-finding and repairs to PV systems, Level 5, 13 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 122.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 313109000-PM-01, Mitigate and respond to hazards associated with PV system installation and maintenance, Level 3, 8 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-02, Work at heights, Level 2, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-03, Use tools, measuring instruments and equipment, NQF Level 3, 7 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-04, Design, construct and test electrical and electronic circuits, Level 3, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-05, Plan and prepare for the installation of a PV system, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-06, Install the mechanical components of a PV system, Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-07, Install the electrical components of a PV system and inter-connect the system, Level 4, 15 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-08, Maintain, test, diagnose and replace PV panels, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-09, Maintain, test, diagnose, repair and replace inverters in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-10, Maintain, test, diagnose, repair and/or replace transformers in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-11, Maintain, test, diagnose and replace batteries in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-12, Maintain, test, diagnose and replace cables, cable inter-connections, smart boxes, PV junction/string boxes, string diodes, connectors and fuses in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-13, Maintain, test, diagnose, repair or replace tracking systems in PV systems, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-14, Maintain, test, diagnose, repair or replace charge controllers in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-PM-15, Maintain, test, diagnose, repair and/or replace switchgear and control gear in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 94.

    This qualification also requires the following Work Experience Modules:
  • 313109000-WM-01, Structured planning and communication processes in the workplace, Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-02, Processes to plan and prepare for installation and commissioning of PV systems, Level 4, 22 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-03, Processes to install mechanical components of PV systems, Level 4, 15 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-04, Processes to install electrical components of PV systems and to commission the systems, Level 4, 27 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-05, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose and replace PV panels, Level 5, 14 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-06, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose, repair and replace inverters in PV systems, Level 5, 7 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-07, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose and replace batteries in PV systems, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-08, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose, repair and replace transformers in PV systems, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-09, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose, repair and replace cables, cable inter-connections, smart boxes, PV junction/string boxes, string diodes, connectors and fuses in PV systems, Level 5, 11 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-10, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose, repair and replace charge controllers in PV systems, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 313109000-WM-11, Processes to check, test, maintain, diagnose, repair and replace switchgear and control gear in PV systems, Level 5, 8 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 128. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Plan and prepare for PV system installation.
    2. Install mechanical components of solar PV system (stand-alone).
    3. Install electrical components of solar PV system (stand-alone).
    4. Maintain, test and replace PV panels components.
    5. Maintain, test repair and replace inverters and transformers.
    6. Maintain, test and replace cables, cable inter-connections, smart boxes, PV junction/string boxes, string diodes, connectors, fuses, switchgears and control gears and repair switchgears and control gears.
    7. Maintain, test and replace batteries and charge controllers and repair charge controllers where possible. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Risks and hazards are identified and mitigated through planning.
  • All the relevant evaluations, shading analysis and positioning of PV system are completed accurately.
  • The PV system that is designed and sized meets the requirements of the task.
  • Planning and design are completed within allocated timeframes.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Mounting system is installed correctly and meets the requirements of the designed PV system, and shows correct interpretation of drawings.
  • Mechanical components of the PV system are installed according to procedures.
  • Appropriate measures are implemented to restore site or roof original condition.
  • Regulations relevant to the installation are complied with.
  • An understanding of the PV system installation procedures is demonstrated.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Preparations demonstrate application of all safety measures prior to instalment of electrical components.
  • Installation of grounding system is correct and protects the system.
  • Installation of wire-ways and conduits is correct and meets PV system requirement.
  • Electrical components of PV system are installed according to procedures.
  • Electrical inter-connections are completed and system instrumentation is installed correctly.
  • PV system is tested and commissioned according to procedures.
  • Regulations relevant to the electrical component installation are complied with.
  • An understanding of the PV system installation procedures is demonstrated.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Knowledge of authorisation, lock-out and isolation procedures is demonstrated.
  • Appropriate maintenance schedules, diagrams and documentation are used.
  • Appropriate inspection, testing and troubleshooting techniques are demonstrated through accurate diagnosis.
  • Readings are interpreted correctly.
  • Scheduled maintenance activities are performed on PV panels.
  • PV panels are removed and replaced.
  • PV panels are cleaned.
  • Manufacturer's specifications are adhered to in all operations.
  • No equipment, modules and tools are damaged.
  • Safety requirements are adhered to.
  • A maintenance report is prepared.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Knowledge of authorisation, lock-out, isolation and re-commissioning procedures is demonstrated.
  • Appropriate maintenance schedules, diagrams and documentation are used.
  • Appropriate inspection, testing and troubleshooting techniques are demonstrated through accurate diagnoses.
  • Readings and data sheets are interpreted correctly.
  • Inverters are removed and replaced on standalone installations and minor inverter components are removed and replaced on solar PV farm.
  • Transformer earthing is checked.
  • Manufacturer's specifications are adhered to in all operations.
  • No equipment, modules and tools are damaged.
  • Adherence to safety requirements demonstrates knowledge of risks involved.
  • A maintenance report is prepared.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Appropriate maintenance schedules, diagrams and documentation are used.
  • Appropriate inspection, testing and troubleshooting techniques are demonstrated through accurate diagnoses.
  • Readings are interpreted correctly.
  • Scheduled maintenance activities are carried out and faulty components are replaced and, where relevant, repaired.
  • Manufacturer's specifications are adhered to in all operations.
  • No equipment, modules and tools are damaged.
  • Adherence to safety requirements demonstrates knowledge of risks involved.
  • A maintenance report is prepared.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Apply knowledge of authorisation, lock-out, isolation and re-commissioning procedures when maintaining, testing and replacing batteries.
  • Use appropriate maintenance schedules, diagrams and documentation when maintaining, testing and replacing batteries.
  • Demonstrate appropriate inspection, testing and troubleshooting techniques through accurate diagnoses during maintenance, testing and replacement of batteries.
  • Interpret readings and data sheets correctly.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance activities on batteries and charge controllers.
  • Remove and replace batteries.
  • Repair charge controllers where possible.
  • Adhere to manufacturer's specifications in all operations.
  • Ensure that no equipment, modules and tools are damaged.
  • Apply safety requirements demonstrates knowledge of risks involved.
  • Complete the maintenance report.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the Curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations Assessment Quality partner, is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the exit level outcomes and associated assessment criteria. The external summative assessment will be a test conducted through an evaluation of written and practical tasks covering critical aspects in a simulated environment at an assessment centre accredited by QCTO and conducted by a registered Assessor. The assessment will take place over a minimum period of 2 days. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    The following countries were considered: United States, Canada and Australia since they appear to be leaders in this aspect, especially Australia that has a similar climatic condition to South Africa.

    United States and Canada:
    North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
    NABCEP is committed to providing a certification program of quality and integrity for the professionals and consumer/public it is designed to serve.
    The NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional will: specify, adapt, implement, configure, install, inspect, and maintain any type of photovoltaic system, including grid-connected and stand-alone systems with or without battery storage, that meet the performance and reliability needs of customers in the United States and Canada, by ensuring quality craftsmanship and compliance with all applicable codes, standards, and safety requirements.
    NABCEP produced a Job Task Analysis (JTA) which serves as a guide for those seeking certification.

    Tasks described as "critical" and that these tasks will be common to most if not all PV installations. Those individuals who achieve NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification will be familiar with all the tasks described as "important." These tasks may not be performed on all installations but are an important part of the certified installer's body of knowledge.

    It must be noted that in NABCEP's certification, maintenance is incorporated into the installation aspect:
  • Verify System Design.
  • Managing the Project.
  • Installing Electrical Components.
  • Installing Mechanical Components.
  • Completing System Installation.
  • Conducting Maintenance and Troubleshooting Activities.

    Australia:
    An Electrician who wishes to install Grid Connected Solar Systems then s/he needs to complete the Install pathway. As an accredited installer you will have to work in conjunction with an accredited designer, or for a company that is taking care of the design aspect of the job. If you want to handle the whole job you need to complete the Design and Install pathway. Many electricians choose this option as it not only gives them greater flexibility, but a greater understanding of the installation job.

    For Non-Electricians the only pathway available is Design. This would give you the capacity to work as a Solar Designer for a solar company or independently as a designer in conjunction with independent installers.

    Grid Connect Installer: Participants must be a qualified Electrician or Electrical Mechanic.

    Grid Connect Designer: Prior to study in this pathway, participants must either:
  • Complete the eight electrical knowledge units available in the Course in Foundation Electrical Units Pre-Requisites Renewable Energy, Clean Energy Council Accreditation, offered by SkillsTech Australia.
  • Apply to the SkillsTech Australia, Recognition of Prior Learning Unit for RPL in the eight electrical knowledge units.
  • Be granted an exemption from the eight electrical knowledge units by the Clean Energy Council. This is granted automatically to Electricians, Electrical or Electronics Engineers and in some cases to other Engineers. It is essential that you speak to the Clean Energy Council to obtain exemption.

    Conclusion:
    This South African qualification compares favourably with the competencies covered in international qualifications. There are two major differences between this qualification and the international ones: Firstly, most of the international qualifications include the servicing and maintenance aspect within the installation qualification. Secondly, many of the international qualifications require the learner to have a full electrician qualification before embarking on a solar PV qualification. The electrician aspects have been included in this Solar PV Technician's qualification. 

  • ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Horizontal articulation is possible with:
  • National Diploma in Electrical Network Power Dispatch Controlling, Level 5.
  • Higher Certificate in Renewable Energy Technologies, Level 5.

    Vertical articulation is possible with:
  • Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Level 6. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
    N/A 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    N/A 

    NOTES 
    Qualifying for external integrated summative assessment:
  • In order to qualify for an external integrated summative assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements of results and work experience records.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers:
  • Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant Curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The Curriculum title and code is:
  • Solar Photovoltaic Service Technician and 313109000.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • None.

    Related Part Qualifications:
  • 313109-000-00-01, Occupational Certificate: Solar Photovoltaic Standalone Installer, Level 4.
  • 313109-000-00-02, Occupational Certificate: Solar Photovoltaic Standalone System Mounter, Level 4.
  • 313109-000-00-03, Occupational Certificate: Solar Photovoltaic Farm Technician, Level 4.
  • 313109-000-00-04, Occupational Certificate: Solar Photovoltaic Standalone Service Technician, Level 4. 

  • LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.