Italy: New Mandatory Quality Standards Trouble Installers

On 24 January, the Conference of Italian Regions adopted the guideline [translated] ”Training standard for the installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems – in accordance with Legislative Decree 28/2011”. The guideline implements the requirements of article 15 of Law 28 with regard to qualification schemes for installers of renewable energy systems. Two Italian associations, the CNA (National Confederation of the Craft Sector and Small and Medium Enterprises) and the associations Confartigianato have sounded the alarm: if the regions do not implement installer training courses quickly, “many of the 57,000 renewable installers in the country will be out of work” after 1 August 2013.

Article 15 of law 28 stipulates that installers are to take part in a training course provided directly by the regions or through accredited bodies. The courses must have a minimum of 80 hours and be divided into an introductory module of 20 hours covering all technologies, a theoretical part for a specific technology (40 hours) and also a 20-hour practical part with the focus on the same renewable technology.

The training course must end with a final exam including both a theoretical and a practical test. From 1 August 2013 on, qualified installers have to attend a 16-hour refresher course every 3 years. In a press release from the end of March, the association Confartigianato pointed to two major problems with the new guideline (see the attached press release in Italian).

First, they fear that some regions will have specific training courses and others will not, which will severely hurt the business of locally active plumbers, something that should be avoided in a period of economic crisis.

The second crucial point is that only installers who have a vocational training certificate attesting competences in plumbing and roofing can take part in the training courses. The individual entrepreneur, the legal representative or the technical manager of an installation company must have at least one of the following technical and professional requirements:
a) specific technical degree;
b) technical diploma of secondary school and at least 2 consecutive years employed directly at a company in the sector;
c) vocational training certificate and at least 4 consecutive years employed directly at a company in the sector.

Consequently, installers who obtained qualification over the years “onsite” will no longer be allowed to install nor gain access to the required training courses. "This is an unacceptable and discriminatory regulation,” says Gianni Barzaghi, President of the Technology Division of Confartigianato, which includes renewable energy systems, in a press release from the end of March.

Some regional administrations are working towards solving these two problems. However, the associations believe it would be better to modify the guideline directly by introducing suitable training courses for installers who do not have a vocational training course certificate, but who have acquired the skills at work.

This text was written by Valeria Verga, Secretary General of the Italian solar thermal association Assolterm.

More information:
www.cna.it/
dpe.confartigianato.it/sistema-imprese/4/home
www.assolterm.it

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