Monday , January 17 2022

Renewable energy technology center in CPUT that supplying key skills


Vice-Chancellor of Penrhyn Penrhyn Technology University Dr Chris Nhlapo; director of South Africa Renewable Energy Technology Center Naim Rasool; and Gwebinkundla Qonde, general director of Higher Education and Training at the launch of the South Africa Renewable Energy Technology Center at the CPUT campus at Bellville. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – What's probably through the technology available at South Africa's first national renewable energy technology center must be done beyond Western Cape, says Gwebinkundla Qonde, director general Higher Education and Training.

He was speaking at the launch of the South Africa Renewable Energy Technology Center (Saretec) at Penrhyn Penrhyn Technology University (CPUT) campus yesterday.

The milestone event came with a host of industry partners supporting Saretec and leaders in the renewable energy areas.

Qonde said the need to move towards renewable energy sources remains important.

"Saretec has located in a place where it can have the greatest influence through teaching and developing research-based skills in serving the community, industry and society.

"The department is pleased that the project that started in 2012 has come to fruition and is now delivering the specialist skills needed for the growing renewable energy industry in South Africa," he says.

Qonde said the department, through the National Skills Fund, had provided R105 million available for the establishment and provision of Saretec, which included R24 million for its operational fees for three years.

The only African type center, Solar-Turbine Wind and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Turbine Service Technicians, who are also compulsory to train technicians in energy efficiency and biomass / biogas.

Saretec director Naim Rassool said that the concept was the result of a strong need for coaching these rare skills in the renewable energy industry.

"When he saw that the educational institutions did not have the ability to do this training and that's where the Saretec idea was stolen," he said.

"A number of trips to Germany were undertaken to see what a renewable energy training center was.

"We got the money in 2012, it started construction and in 2015. In 2016 we started a first training program," he said.

Rassool said the technicians needed industry, with the first eight during the final stages of thorough training and each had to choose according to their qualifications and backgrounds.

He said that with new wind farms coming online in 2020, the need would be higher and Saretec would train 24 technicians.

Vice-Chancellor CPUT, Dr Chris Nhlapo, said the need for such a center would arise from the government's announcement that it would set 6 724 megawatts in the solar and wind industry over the next 10 years.

He said this meant that higher education institutions would need to train and create infrastructure in this specialist area, which made an ideal CPU.

Frenrico Resandt, from Eneke near Piketberg, a Changer Skills Game Game program trainee, has a qualification in electrical engineering.

"I applied for the program last year but because of the harassment of the student, it was stopped, but this year I had a call and I was asked if I was still interested," he said.

"I can give up the job as a frequency radio technician. I worked in electronics when you served in the navy, so this opportunity was captured by two hands."

Sinovuyo Mhlobo-Nqamakwe, of Eastern Cape, has a national mechanical engineering diploma by Walter Sisulu University.

Mhobo-Nqamakwe said the training was thorough but she enjoyed every minute of it.

He said that only three women in the training were supported and helped by their male counterparts.

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