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Solar Accreditation Training

Australia has some of the best conditions in the world for solar power, making it a great place to install solar panels. This guide will show you the requirements necessary to become a solar installer in Australia. We will cover everything from the qualifications you need to the skills you will learn. So, let's get started!

The Solar Energy Industry In Australia

The number of homes and organisations using solar power has increased tremendously in the last three years. In 2020, renewable energy sources contributed more than a quarter of all energy consumed in Australia. In 2020-21, solar PV generated almost 10% of Australia's electricity, making it the fastest-growing energy generation type in the country.

Rooftop solar PV is now installed on more than 30% of Australian homes, with a total capacity of more than 11 GW. Large-scale solar farms are also becoming more prevalent in Australia, with about 7 GW of power connected to the national grid. One primary reason for this increase is people looking for lower electric bills and seeking a sustainable future for our planet.

Additionally, installing solar panels has become affordable to families of all sizes through record-breaking tariffs, rebates, and government incentives. This means that demand is growing in both the residential and commercial sectors. There are plenty of opportunities for qualified solar installers on the horizon, even in this period of uncertainty.

What Does It Take To Become A Solar Installer?

Becoming a certified solar installer in Australia takes a lot of time, money, and hard work to acquire the required skills and knowledge. To become a solar installer, you need to have at least five years of electrical work experience, which includes being trained and qualified to install solar power systems.

Before you can be an electrician in Australia, you will need to complete an apprenticeship and be licensed to work as an electrician. You may need to complete an electrical trade course to qualify for the apprenticeship. The following are the required qualifications for electrician apprenticeships:

  • You will need to be at minimum 16 years of age and have completed secondary school education. You must also provide proof of both your age and schooling when applying for an apprenticeship with the relevant electrical trade training provider.
  • Your application must include a current resume of work experience. If you don't have any work experience, then you will need to explain why. The Electrical Trades Recognition Board (ETRB) is the official organisation responsible for recognising electrical workers in Australia and is a member of the International Federation of Electrical Workers (IFEW).

How Do You Become A Solar Installer?

With the rising demand for solar energy, you may want to join the party as a solar installer. What essentials do you need? Here are the two requirements you need to become a solar installer in Australia.

Why Do Installers Require An Electrical License?

As a solar installer, you need an electrical license. It's an essential document across the country to work with electricity. Work here is defined as jobs that require appliances and electrical devices. This includes work on electrical equipment and electrical installation.

The licenses vary in every state concerning the type, cost, and responsibilities specific to each state. However, the general principle is identical across all states. In essence, you must possess an electrical permit or be overseen by someone who has one in order for you to install and use electricity. These certificates prove that the installer is skilled in using electricity.

How Do I Get My Electrical License?

Clean Energy Council Accreditation

CEC is a non-profit corporation. Its goal is to assist in developing sustainable energy sources in Australia by cooperating with storage firms and solar installers across the nation. The Clean Energy Council strives to set the bar for excellence in the solar sector through its accreditation program.

People who have completed the requisite training to design and install solar, batteries, and other renewable energy systems are recognised by the Clean Energy Council.

Designers and installers who are CEC-accredited strive to achieve industry best practice standards, resulting in systems that are safe, dependable, and satisfy client expectations.

Why Should You Become Accredited?

CEC must accredit any individual interested in designing or installing solar panels or batteries. When accredited, you'll enjoy the following benefits:

  • You'll have access to the CEC's solar technical advice helpline.
  • Toolbox presentations, how-tos, and technical material are all available.
  • You can keep up to date on significant changes to industry standards and norms.
  • Be up to date with approved products.
  • Have your name added to the CEC's tool for finding installers (this also applies to designers).
  • Let the government and authorities know what you think.

Types Of Solar Installation Accreditations

You can either be accredited as a solar installer, battery installer, or off-grid installer. Let's look at the various certifications offered. However, we'll restrict this to solar installer certifications.

  • Solar Grid-Connection Certification: This certificate allows employees to work on solar systems connected to the grid.
  • Grid Connect Install Only: Individuals who want to install solar systems connected to the grid are eligible for this certification. You must have an unrestricted electrical license to qualify for this accreditation.
  • Grid-Connect Design and Install: This certification is for people who want to design and install solar systems connected to the power grid. You must have an unrestricted electrical license to be eligible for this accreditation.
  • Battery Storage Accreditation: This certification is for individuals who want to design and install grid-connected battery storage systems.
  • Grid-Connect Battery Storage Only Install: This certification is for individuals who want to install grid-connected battery storage devices. You must have an unrestricted electrical license to be eligible for this accreditation.
  • Grid-Connect Battery Storage Design and Installation: This certification is for people who want to design and install battery storage systems connected to the power grid. You must have an unrestricted electrical license to be eligible for this accreditation.
  • Stand-Alone Power Systems (SPS) Accreditation: This certificate allows individuals to work on solar systems that are not connected to the grid.
  • SPS Install Only: Individuals who want to install solar systems not connected to the grid are eligible for this accreditation.
  • SPS Design and Install: This certification is for people who wish to design and install solar systems that aren't connected to the power grid.

How To Become A CEC Accredited Solar Installer

To become a CEC accredited installer, you must meet the conditions specified. Here is a breakdown of all the necessary steps you need to undertake.

Step One: Complete the Training

The first step to being accredited is to undertake the required training. You'll need to enrol for the training or accreditation you're applying for in a registered training organisation (RTO).

You can find a comprehensive list of registered training organisations on the Clean Energy Council's website. An easy way of knowing more about the right course for you is to contact the relevant RTO.

Step Two: Apply for Provisional Accreditation

After completing your training, you'll have to apply for provisional accreditation. Some of the documents you'll need include:

  • Training certificates
  • Public liability insurance (minimum $5 million)
  • An electrical license
  • Certificate of working safely at heights, issued within the last six years.

After submitting all required documents and making payment for your application, you'll be provisionally accredited. However, you'll have to complete online assessments to be assigned an accreditation number. You should also note that provisional accreditation expires after three months.

Step Three: Complete Online Assessment

So, you've completed the required training and applied for provisional accreditation. However, as stated, you'll also need an accreditation number to be able to install solar equipment. This number is only issued if you've completed an online assessment.

You must complete the online assessment within 30 days. The primary purpose of the assessment is for you to demonstrate your knowledge of solar installations. It's worth noting that it's only for solar installers and not designers.

Step Four: Submit for the CEC Practical Assessment

You must pass a practical assessment if you have Design and Install or Install Only provisional certification. This will be to prove your capability in installing solar or battery systems. You will need to provide documentation showing the first installation.

Step Five: Become Fully Accredited

You can upgrade your provisional accreditation for designers once you've finished your online assessment. However, as a solar or battery systems installer, you'll have to complete the CEC practical assessment documents. After review, you'll be accredited if the documents are approved.

Step Six: Move to Annual Renewal

Your full accreditation is valid for one year. It will need to renew annually through Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The CPD program aids in advancing the industry's overall level of work in the solar and battery storage sectors.

CPD enables installers and designers to appropriately install, provide consumers with the most up-to-date technologies and installation alternatives, and keep them informed of changes to Australian regulations.

You will need to complete 100 points in eligible training to renew your license. This training is divided into two categories: Core and Elective. This is so installers are up to date with industry changes and accredited installers can comply with all applicable standards.

Step Seven: Add Additional Accreditations

After you have obtained your full accreditation, you can add other types of accreditations, such as designing or installing other systems. However, you will be provisionally accredited when you add new accreditation types.

The Cost Of CEC Accreditation And Training

The cost of training and CEC accreditation will vary depending on the registered training organisation you enrol in, the certification, and also whether you're looking to start a solar installation business or not. At the minimum, you should be willing to spend at least $1800. Some of the costs you'll incur are as follows:

  • The cost of accreditation courses starts at $1000.
  • The cost of the electrical basics exam is at least $100.
  • Liability insurance is relatively affordable at around $65 per month or $780 annually.
  • Installers need a Working Safely at Heights certificate, which costs around $200.
  • A sole trader ABN Application is available for free if you're starting a business.
  • The current cost of a provisional application is $120 + GST, while the upgrade to full accreditation will run your cost to $500 + GST.
  • Annual renewal costs $190. Additional accreditations such as Batteries or Stand-Alone Systems cost $190.

Job Growth For CEC Accredited Individuals

Australia's renewable energy growth has surpassed government plans and expectations. This is partly due to a grassroots effort among homeowners to use cleaner energy and install rooftop solar. The most significant drivers have been the continued decline in the cost of solar panels and the solar homes program, which makes systems a better investment.

This expansion is aided by the CEC Accreditation program, which instils trust. If you've been thinking of getting accredited as a solar installer and joining some of Australia's best solar companies, now is a great time to start!