C’bean NGO training citizens to provide safe solar PV installations
Interest in the field of solar energy generation has ramped up considerably over the last few years across the Caribbean, in a push to leverage the region’s green growth potential.
Green Solutions International SKN Incorporated (GSI), a Caribbean energy company and solar photovoltaic (PV) training provider, is developing the capacity of citizens across the region to provide safe, quality, solar PV installations for residential and commercial clients.
“GSI aims to serve as a repository and hub for knowledge, innovation, and networking on clean energy throughout the region, to help bridge the gap for a range of players in the renewables sector,” executive Director Dr Wayne E. Archibald explained.
Archibald said the organisation is contributing to regional workforce development by bringing advanced solar photovoltaic expertise to the region, through the curriculum of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) course in Photovoltaics.
Offered since 2003, the NABCEP certification is billed as the most respected and widely recognised of its kind globally for renewable energy professionals.
“Having a NABCEP credential means that employers know that the individual in question is knowledgeable, committed, enthusiastic, and safety-minded with respect to quality photovoltaic installations,” said Dr Archibald. “NABCEP certifications also provide increased marketability and reputation enhancement, which translate into higher credibility and increased consumer confidence.”
Over the past two years, GSI has trained over 500 individuals across the region in the solar industry – including installers, inspectors, designers, financial advisors, and policymakers – either in person or online, through its global online platform. This was funded in part by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“Our aim is to improve alignment between training outcomes and workforce needs. We want to support talent development and retention at regional scales,” Dr Archibald explained.
Judith Ephraim, Programme Coordinator, Sustainable Energy Unit at the OECS Commission, indicated, “We’re seeing a trend towards low or zero-carbon sources of energy, as well as distributed generation and autonomy in energy production in the Caribbean. We are therefore very pleased to have been able to build capacity in the region to support this part of the energy transition working with Dr Archibald and his GSI team.”
She added, “The opportunity to provide a high-quality, convenient and enjoyable learning programme that will allow our workforce to find green jobs and help individuals and sectors reduce their energy costs was both timely and relevant. Organisations like GSI are paving the way in supporting a cadre of homegrown energy professionals that will take the region forward in meeting its energy and sustainable development goals.”
Leighton Waterman, Sustainable Energy Specialist at Caribbean Development Bank shared similar sentiments. “The renewable energy sector continues to grow globally, and here in the region, GSI is at the forefront of the latest developments to equip our people and our countries with the requisite skills and resources.”
Waterman said GSI was contracted by the CDB last year and the results of our partnership were exceptional. “Dr Archibald and his team are at the forefront of renewable energy and the GSI courses are tailored to navigating the region to tap into this burgeoning industry for the benefits of the region.”
In partnership with the Cadmus Group LLC, a global climate and energy consulting firm, and The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, GSI is leading Workforce Development and Training for Strengthening Energy Sector Resilience in Jamaica (SESR-Jamaica). SESR-Jamaica is a US$4-million, a three- year project of USAID/Jamaica and the Jamaica Energy Resilience Alliance (JERA).
Cadmus is leading JERA, an alliance of Jamaican and international private sector and non-profit organisations. This progressive grouping embraces SESR-Jamaica’s objective to strengthen the ability of Jamaica’s energy sector to withstand or rebound quickly from natural or human-made shocks by supporting the development of enabling environments. There is also a keen focus on facilitating the adoption of distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) and PV with battery storage (PV+).
SESR-Jamaica’s workforce development and training component include online and hands-on training for those interested in becoming certified solar installers, inspectors, and other sector professionals. This is anticipated to strengthen Jamaica’s renewable energy sector through workforce development with the engagement of underrepresented populations, including women.
“We at Cadmus place tremendous value on the work being done by the team at GSI,” said Christina Becker-Birck, Vice President of International Programmes, Cadmus.
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