CSA Standards and NETCO announce development of Canadian personnel
certification program for Construction Electricians installing solar
photovoltaic equipment

TORONTO, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - CSA Standards, a leading standards-based solutions organization, and the National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO), the joint training arm of the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, First District, Canada (IBEW), today officially announce 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," says 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 help reduce the risk of serious accident and injury and also to help 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. 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," says 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' photovoltaic personnel certification program will certify an individual's knowledge within the PV area, by conducting an assessment against objectively identified criteria and 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 16-24 hours of training to safely and effectively install PV technology in its various applications," says Phil Flemming, IBEW International Vice President 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."

In 2008, world solar photovoltaic market installations recorded revenues of $37.1-billion and reached a record high of 5.95 gigawatts, with the U.S. as one of the top three countries recording growth in 2008. 1Photovoltaic prices have declined an average of four percent annually over the past 15 years.

The development of the personnel certification program for Construction Electricians-Solar PV Systems Certified is expected to be completed by the summer of 2011.  CSA's approach adheres to the ISO 17024 international standard for certifying bodies and has a wide portfolio of standards related to sustainability, while also offering personnel certification for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Verifiers, and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Quantifiers. Additionally, CSA Group significantly increased capacity to test solar photovoltaic modules to North American and international standards through new state-of-the-art solar PV module testing laboratories in Vancouver B.C. and its newest joint facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Both offer the industry access to cutting-edge solar photovoltaic testing, research and development capabilities. 

To learn more about CSA's personnel certification programs, visit:
www.csa-america.org/personnel_certification/

About CSA Standards
CSA Standards is a leading standards-based solutions organization serving industry, government, consumers and other interested parties in North America and the global marketplace. Focusing on standards and codes development, application products, training, advisory and personnel certification services, the organization aims to enhance public safety, improve quality of life, preserve the environment and facilitate trade. CSA Standards is a division of CSA Group, which also consists of CSA International, which provides testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information visit www.csa.ca

About NETCO
The National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is the national voice of the electrical industry in Canada.  NETCO is a joint Labour-Management partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), First District, Canada and the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA).  CECA represents over 8,000 electrical contractors across Canada who generate over $5 billion in revenues and who directly employ 70,000 persons.  IBEW Local Unions represent approximately 63,000 members in Canada and a significant proportion work as electrical journeypersons and apprentices.  NETCO's mandate is to promote national standards, apprenticeship and ongoing journeyperson skills training in Canada with a particular focus on the three Red Seal electrical trades.  For more information visit www.ceca.org/netco.

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1 Annual World Solar Photovoltaic Industry Report released March 16, 2009


SOURCE CSA STANDARDS

For further information: For further information:

Marco Ouji
Media Relations Officer
CSA Group
T: 416-747-2615
E: marco.ouji@csagroup.org

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