Electrical Business


CSA and NETCO developing solar PV equipment personnel certification program

August 22, 2010 | By Anthony Capkun

CSA Standards and the National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO)—the joint training arm of the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) and IBEW First District-Canada—announced the development of a national, third-party, independent personnel certification program for construction electricians installing photovoltaic (PV) equipment in Canada.

“The CSA personnel certification program for Construction Electricians-Solar PV Systems is an excellent fit with CSA’s growing portfolio of personnel certification programs in the area of safety and sustainability,” said Stephen Brown, director, Energy, CSA Standards. “CSA welcomes the opportunity to work jointly with NETCO on this new program to help improve public safety and the environment through the development and measurement of specific worker ability criteria. The program will be well-balanced to address the needs of workers, industry, regulators, and the general public.”

The program, directed at journeyperson construction electricians, aims to help ensure the safe and effective installation of solar equipment and to reduce the risk of serious accident and injury, as well as promote energy efficiency and increased public confidence in PV installations.

The personnel certification program for Construction Electricians-Solar PV Systems is fully funded by NETCO on behalf of the electrical industry. It is the first program in Canada to offer a certification based on the tasks that qualified journeyperson construction electricians carry out in applying their skills to the installation of solar equipment, says NETCO. A journeyperson is a qualified and skilled person in a trade, and is allowed to train and act as a mentor to a registered apprentice.


“The credibility of NETCO’s overall National Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Strategy is enhanced by the fact that we engaged CSA Standards from the outset,” said Eryl Roberts, CECA executive secretary and NETCO treasurer. “This is a Made-in-Canada personnel certification program informed by the Canadian Electrical Code and the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. It is based on NETCO’s assertion that solar installations should be performed by qualified electricians working for licensed contractors under electrical permits.”

CSA Standards’ PV personnel certification program will certify an individual’s knowledge by conducting an assessment against objectively identified criteria, then provide formal recognition. CSA Standards’ PV program will examine an individual’s measurable knowledge and skill, rather than qualification based programs that consider an individual’s education and general credentials.

“Through this new program, construction electricians will require only an additional 16 to 24 hours of training to safely and effectively install PV technology in its various applications,” said Phil Flemming, IBEW international VP and NETCO president. “We are confident that training providers will see the value of CSA Standards’ personnel certification program and will align their curriculum in this area with CSA to best foster success.”

The development of the personnel certification program for Construction Electricians-Solar PV Systems Certified is expected to be completed by Summer 2011.

CLICK HERE for CSA’s personnel certification programs.



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