Local Zimbabwean SMME exemplifies efficacy of SOLTRAIN's practical and theoretical training interventions


Submitted by Samson Mhlanga
Published 2 years, 6 months ago

One of the key aims of the SOLTRAIN programme is to increase technical skills through training and local skills transfer, and Sunnex, a Zimbabwean solar SMME, presents a good example of some of SOLTRAIN's success in this regard.

David receiving his certificate after training from Rudi Moschik (AEE INTEC)

Sunnex was established in 2000 under the directorship of Simba Rupiya and has been involved in the installation of solar geysers at most of the demonstration SOLTRAIN systems in Harare since the inception of the SOLTRAIN project in 2009. Simba Rupiya's experience in solar thermal systems dates back to 1993 when he worked for Domestic Solar Heating under the mentorship of local solar stalwart and one of the early SOLTRAIN pioneers, Dr Antony Schwarzlmueller.

A youthful addition to the company came recently with the formal engagement of 28-year-old David Rupiya in mid-2019 who, shortly after his engagement, embarked on his first solar thermal-theory training course in early 2020 when he attended the SOLTRAIN Train-the-Trainer course held at the Harare Institute of Technology, facilitated by Rudolf Moschik, Samson Mhlanga and Blessed Sarema.

This was then followed by a period of SOLTRAIN's “Dual Training for Artisans” which includes theoretical training under the leadership of AEE INTEC in co-operation with local partners and vocational training centres as well as hands-on courses in combination with a 3-6 month internship at a solar thermal company aimed at participants that had attended training courses in previous phases of SOLTRAIN. The cost of the internship is shared by SOLTRAIN and the solar thermal companies.

During the first half of 2020, Sunnex installed about 75m2 of solar thermal collector area, much of which was undertaken during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these new installations, David was involved in a lot of repair work on header tanks on old installations done by other companies dating back to 2010.

Sunnex is also in the process of applying for more demonstration systems under the SOLTRAIN project and is looking forward to a bright future in the local solar industry and David will remain employed by the company after the SOLTRAIN funded dual training period.