The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has developed the Photovoltaic Technologies (PVTech) course under the Short Learning Programme (SLP) which is offered by The Energy Training Foundation (EnTF) in Gauteng.

The PVTech course covers grid-tied PV systems in South African context cover the latest trends in manufacturing and modelling, technical aspects surrounding the PV cells and modules, standards, PV reliability and bankability, etc.

The underlying design criteria will be to optimise the energy yield versus lifecycle costs of the PV system within the given resource, technical and legislative constraints, i.e. the optimising of the financial viability of the system.

Daily tests are written, with an examination on the final day resulting in the awarding of the appropriate achievement certificate.

Module 1: PV Cells

  • Short historical review
  • Semiconducting Materials
  • The PN Junction
  • Basic PV Cell Structure
  • PV Cell Performance


Module 2: PV Modules

  • Silicon Module Structure
  • Thin Film Modules
  • Concentrator Photovoltaics
  • I-V Curves
  • Module Circuit Layout
  • Effect of Module Shading
  • Module Temperature
  • Module Specification
  • Module Certification
  • Warranties


Module 3: Silicon Cell Manufacturing

  • History
  • Raw Materials
  • Types of Si PV Cells
  • Diffusion Process
  • Si Cell Fabrication


Module 4: Latest Photovoltaic Trends

  • Modelling Module Efficiency
  • Solar Cell Efficiency
  • PV Manufacturing Improvement
  • Modelling Prices
  • Manufacturing Cost
  • Cost of PV Modules
  • Projections
  • Efficiency– Price Status and Projection
  • Module Certification
  • Warranties


Module 5: Photovoltaic Reliability and Bankability

  • Financing a large PV project
  • Financing: Risk Perceptions
  • Risks: Lab-to-Fab Gap
  • Risks: Performance Reduction
  • Possible PV Plant Defects
  • Bankability

Module 6: Photovoltaic Electricity Production Overview/Trends

  • Drivers for PV in SA
  • Drivers for RE in SA
  • PV Electricity Production in SA
  • PV Market in SA


Module 7: Review of Photovoltaic Module Failures

  • Introduction
  • Definitions
  • Identification of PV module failures
  • Failure modes in PV modules
  • Adapting testing methods


Module 8: Introduction to PV module characterisation.

  • I-V measurement methods.
  • IEC Standard (IEC12615).
  • Standardised tests (STC, NOCT).
  • Categories of degradation modes and loss mechanisms in PV modules.


Module 9: Photovoltaic Module Testing and Research at NMMU

  • Photovoltaic Test Laboratory
  • Outdoor Research Facility
  • Photovoltaic Research Laboratory


Module 10: Energy Yield Modeling Software and Case Studies

  • Introduction to system specification and modelling / simulation tools.
  • Basic “free” simulation tools: Capabilities and limitations.
  • Activity: Spreadsheet sizing
  • Activity: Off-grid sizing PVGIS online tool
  • Activity: Off-grid sizing PVSyst or PVSol
  • Overview of grid-tied PV plant energy yield calculation using PVSyst.
  • Case study
  • PV Simulation – demonstration.

Candidates will have an understanding of how to optimise PV system energy yield vs lifecycle costs within the South African context, ie, optimising the financial viability of the system.

  • From beginner level for information to experienced persons wishing to learn more about PV Solar Systems in South Africa.
  • Persons that have to find ways of saving energy and provide alternative means of energy solutions.

Consultants, engineers, technicians, renewable energy company employees, students, and any persons interested in the latest information regarding PV.

Steps to Certification

Attend the CEA™ training course with an AEE approved training partner.
Write the CEA™ examination and attain a 70%+ pass mark.
Complete your CEA™ Certification application and return it to your training provider timeously.
The local and international CEA™ Board will review your application.
Your training provider will advise you of the Board’s decision.
Should you receive feedback that you are a CEAIT (in-training) you may re-apply for certification within 3 years which provides ample time to gain more experience.

Basic Skills Required

The CEA™ training course is at a level which assumes the delegate has basic problem-solving skills, including quick and accurate use of a hand calculator, the ability to use basic algebra and to set up problem solution expressions and calculations from a written problem statement..

Daily revision tests will be written

A 90 minute examination on the last day of training

Click here to download the PVTech brochure in .pdf.

Training Costs*

R8 700.00 (Excl. VAT)

Includes: 5-day day training course programme, examination, electronic training manual, marking and certificate fee, lunch, tea and coffees

View all upcoming PVTech courses for online registration


Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)

4 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits for ECSA requirements.

Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)

7.2 credits for Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) demonstration to relevant AEE certification programs

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)

Certificate of Completion – Examination pass of 50%
Certificate of Completion Distinction – Examination pass of 75%

Terms and conditions

1. First paid first served policy applies for booking security.

2. Booking security requires the following to be received six (6) working days prior to the commencement of the course:

A. Full payment with proof of payment supplied.

B. A deposit of 25% with proof of payment supplied.

C. A purchase order for the full amount of the invoice.

3. Fees include coffee/tea/juice on arrival, mid-morning coffee/tea with pastries, mid-afternoon coffee/tea with biscuits, and lunch. For training the fee includes the text books and course fee. For examinations the fee includes the examination fee, marking fee, certification application fee, and 1 year membership of AEE for successful candidates.

4. It is the responsibility of the candidate attending the course to arrange their own travel, accommodation, breakfast and dinner.

5. Policy on international candidates

A. Invoices exclude withholding and country-specific taxes. Should these be leveraged by your country government, we reserve the right to invoice the responsible entity/person to recoup the costs.

B. VAT is payable for candidates attending training in South African borders, this may be claimed on departure from South Africa using the tax invoice.

6. Policy on cancellations

A. Cancellations received within five (5) working days prior to the first day of training will carry a 25% cancellation fee. No course material will be supplied.

B. Cancellations received six (6) working days prior to the first day of training will receive a full refund.

7. Policy on accounts not in good standing

A. The candidate in attendance at the course ultimately remains responsible for payment of the outstanding account and providing the proof of payment thereof.

B. In the event that a candidate, or the candidate’s organisation is not in good standing with us we reserve the right to withhold:

– Certificates of Attendance
– Course Attendance Registers
– Issuing of ECSA CPD credits
– Examination Results
– AEE Certification Application and/or Renewal Submissions
– AEE Certification Certificates
– Listing on the AEE website

8. The Energy Training Foundation (EnTF) is the energy division of Faculty Training Institute (Pty) Ltd and the invoice will be made out by Faculty Training Institute.

9. Right of Admission Reserved.