Post By
Samarth Gara

How to become a Certified Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Installer in India?

March 3, 2021

The solar energy industry in India is booming, thanks to the environmental concerns raised during the last four decades, leading countries across the globe to switch to non-renewable energy sources at an ever-faster rate than before. According to the statistics offered by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, the installed capacity of solar energy in India has increased by 11 times between 2014 and 2019. India currently holds the fifth position in solar power deployment in the world, with an installed capacity of 30 GW. Solar tariffs in India are very competitive, as well. 

Due to this rapid expansion in solar power installations, lakhs of jobs have been created in this sector. New companies have come up with numerous products in the market, and local R&D is making India one of the leading exporters of solar systems in the world. 

This booming industry has plenty of job prospects and in this article, we provide insights into becoming a certified rooftop solar photovoltaic installer in India. It requires a great deal of expertise to install any solar panel system, and as the market for solar energy is fast expanding, so is the demand for certified solar system installers. Certificates act as proof of a person’s knowledge and expertise about solar PV installation. With the formal training that one gets for the certification, one can get employed with a number of leading players in the industry. In India, we have a number of institutes, both government and private, which offer certificate courses on how to become a solar PV installer. These institutes have different eligibility criteria, fee structures, course durations, course structures, etc. 

In this article, we will discuss the various training programmes offered in solar PV installation by two different institutes in India - National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology, Aurangabad (NIELIT) and National Power Training Institute (NPTI). But before that, we will talk about the National Certification Course for Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Installer by Gujarat Energy Research Management Institute (GERMI), which is offered through a number of private partner institutes spread across India. Go through this article to find out how to become a certified rooftop solar photovoltaic installer in India.

National Certification Course for Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Installer by Gujarat Energy Research Management Institute (GERMI)

The Gujarat Energy Research Management Institute (GERMI) is a registered not-for-profit organization, and a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO) recognized by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DISR) of Government of India. The organization is also a Schedule-I Environmental Auditor recognized by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. 

GERMI offers a National Certification Course for Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Installer, which serves as a decentralized platform to develop highly skilled and qualified rooftop solar PV installers, and also pave the way for them to become successful professionals in the field. The course aims to train and certify 10,000 rooftop solar PV installation technicians every year throughout India. Currently, GERMI has 6 partner institutes to offer training but in the course of time, it aims to foster 100 partner training centres, and help empower them by building their human resources and infrastructural capabilities. The aim is to bring the global and the local together, by imparting world-class and standardized skills to solar rooftop PV installers across the country. GERMI has obtained all requisite clearances from government, utility and statutory bodies for this certification program. The partner training centers have competent trainers and skilled technicians, and GERMI constantly monitors the overall process. Furthermore, a number of leading industry partners exist for this program which includes prestigious players like Tata Power, BHEL, Adani Solar, etc. The program aims to provide a skilled workforce to the solar energy sector to meet its targets. 

Eligibility Criterion

The following is the eligibility requirements for joining this certification program:

  • The candidate should be at least 18 years of age at the time of starting the programme
  • The candidate should have at least passed their 10th standard examinations.

Course Duration 

This is a vocational program for rooftop solar PV installation and the course spans over a period of 3 months, or 12 weeks. The trainee needs to undergo 204 hours of training, which is divided between 96 theory hours and 108 practical hours. 

Registration Process

  • Visit the programme website
  • Locate an Authorized Training Centre
  • Fill up the Trainee Registration Form
  • Submit to the authorized training centre with the application fee

Outcomes from this course 

Upon completing this course, the certified installer should be able to do the following things:

  • Understand the basis of solar energy 
  • Achieve expertise in surveying a rooftop solar PV installation site
  • Understand the basic workings and installations of all equipments related to a rooftop solar PV system 
  • Design a solar rooftop PV system in accordance with the requirements of the customer, and by following appropriate guidelines.
  • Prepare the technical documents pertaining to the design, installation and operation of rooftop solar systems
  • Achieve an expertise in installing a solar PV system based on designs and drawings 
  • Ability to maintain a rooftop solar system, including troubleshooting of faults in operation 
  • Follow all the safety guidelines during the installation and operation of the rooftop solar system 
  • Ability to professionally communicate with customers, suppliers and contractors
  • Ability to undertake the management of a rooftop solar PV system project
  • Understand all the formalities associated with a rooftop solar PV system installation, including submitting applications to the authorities, getting approvals, and so forth. 

Certificate Course in Solar Power Installation, Operation And Maintenance by National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology, Aurangabad (NIELIT)

Established in 1987 in the city of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) is a premier public education institution. It is co-located inside the scenic campus of Dr. B.A.M. University and its campus spreads over more than 18 acres, with all kinds of facilities available for the students. In recent times, NIELIT has started offering a skill-oriented Certificate Course in Solar Power Installation, Operation, And Maintenance. The course offers expertise in the study of photovoltaic cells, system components, electrical circuits, solar system design, installation of solar PV modules in commercial buildings and homes, and so on. The course design comprises both theory and practical, and can effectively train people in developing skills related to rooftop solar photovoltaic installation. The combination of theoretical and practical knowledge will give the students the experience they need to be successful in this industry and perhaps even become entrepreneurs in the long run. 

Choosing NIELIT for a certificate course on rooftop solar PV installation is beneficial for a number of reasons. Firstly, the institute conducts an independent and fair assessment through proctored online examination to determine the readiness of the trainees. Secondly, the certificates issued by the institute are linked with Digital Locker so that prospective employers can easily verify them. Thirdly, the certificate course undertakes a project-based teaching approach, emphasizing on the latest industrial trends. You will also get the opportunity to learn from a highly qualified faculty and enjoy the best state-of-the-art infrastructure. Finally, the NIELIT campus offers hostel facilities to its students, subject to availability. 

Eligibility Criterion 

  • This course is open to those who have completed Class 12 (or higher), irrespective  of any stream
  • The course is also open to those who have completed ITI or Diploma (or higher).

Course Duration

  • Total Course Theory / Lecture Hours: 30
  • Total Course Practical / Tutorial Hours: 50
  • Total Course Hours: 80

Note that new batches are started every even month of the year. 

Fee Structure 

The fee structure of this certificate course is affordable, given the fact that this is a public institution. The following is the fee structure for this course:

  • Registration Fees: Rs 500 (non-refundable)
  • Tuition Fees: Rs 8,000 + GST

Also note that no tuition fees are charged from meritorious SC/ST candidates.

Outcomes from this course

Upon completing this course, the certified installer should be able to do the following things:

  • Ability to understand and apply key terms and concepts associated with solar PV modules. 
  • Ability to design a solar PV system for different spaces. 
  • Ability to perform a complete installation of a solar PV system, including mounting, grounding, positioning, wiring and connections. 
  • Voltage testing of PV system 
  • Operation and maintenance of a rooftop solar PV system 
  • Knowledge about different types of solar modules and batteries used in solar PV plants.
  • Ability to design solar PV systems on the basis of estimated loads. 

Job Opportunities

There are a number of employment opportunities that open up upon completing this course. It can help you become a self-employed entrepreneur; design electrical engineer for solar systems; area sales manager in solar, thermal and PV products; service in-charge, and so forth. You can learn more about this course here.

Skill Development Training Program on Renewable Energy, National Power Training Institute (NPTI)

NPTI’s Skill Development Training Program on Renewable Energy is different from the two other certification programs which we have talked about in this article. What makes this course different is its focus on renewable energy as a whole, rather than simply training students for the installation of rooftop solar PV modules. This includes developing the skills of the participants in various sources of renewable energy, including solar, wind, bioenergy, small hydel power projects, etc. However, since this program has a dedicated module on solar energy, the certification is fit for becoming a certified solar photovoltaic installer in India. 

The module on solar energy is meant to train students in the following things:

  • Components of a solar PV system, including battery, inverter, charge controllers, etc.
  • Tracking mechanisms of a solar PV system
  • Troubleshooting of different kinds of solar PV systems and solar thermal systems 
  • Commissioning and testing of solar PV systems for homes and workspaces
  • Tools and applications used in the field of solar energy 
  • Technical and economic analysis of solar power thermal and solar PV power plants 
  • Grid integration and system operational aspects 
  • DPR preparation for solar power plants

Further, the students attending this program are taken for a field visit to a solar power plant and also to a wind farm. The course offers an ample amount of theoretical and practical exposure to the students. 

NPTI’s Skill Development Training Program on Renewable Energy is offered in two of NPTI centers, located respectively in Alappuzha, Kerala and Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. You can visit NPTI’s website for more information on this program. 

Eligibility Criterion 

Since this is a highly specialized course, its eligibility criterion differs from the two other certification programs. 

One must be a diploma or a graduate engineer to enroll in this certification program. 

Conclusion 

Thus, in this article, we offered a detailed guide into how to become a certified rooftop solar photovoltaic installer in India. We discussed three different certification programs which are currently offered by different institutes in India for becoming a certified solar PV installer. Go through this article thoroughly to get an idea about these programs. If you are planning to undertake a course in solar PV installation, choose wisely, depending on your requirements, center location, course duration, expectations from the course, etc. 

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