Over the past couple of years we have seen a huge increase in the number of construction industry professionals choosing In enhance their skills in solar thermal and, more recently, solar PV installation It is little surprise, as many recognised how both domestic and commercial users were keen to reap the rewards from generating renewable energy from their roof. As a result of this, we have seen a continued increase in the number of delegates attending training in solar PV installation every month.
We started out by delivering solar PV training for roofers sis years ago, which was a two day course that has recently achieved Cskills accreditation (from the Construction Industry Training Board(. Although some in the industry questioned whys solar PV installer would want to train its competitors, we saw this as our opportunity to help drive up industry standards in what was, and still is, a very young industry in the UK. It also means that we can work in partnership with a network of approved installers who we are confident can deliver solar PV and solar thermal installations to the highest quality standards in areas of the UK where we do not currently have our own in house teams.
From delivering courses to roofing contractors, we began to see demand from other areas of the construction sector, such as hearing engineers sod electricians, so we begun delivering specific courses for these sectors too. We now provide a wide range of courses aimed at plumbers, heating engineers and electricians. In response to demand, we are also now able to provide training in air source heat pump installation.
Many plumbing and heating engineers also choose to follow our solar thermal course, as part of our roofer training service, which is run through Plumb Center. This is u very popular course for anyone who is new to solar and who may not have the necessary Health and Safety accreditation, such as Work at Heights, as this is covered within the course
Once an installer successfully passes their solar installation course, often the nest step is for an individual or business to gain Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation. Here, our Easy step towards MCS Guidance course helps to ensure a business secures this accreditation quickly. The one day course is often attended by company owners, sales representatives or Directors.
Over the past few years, we have delivered hundreds of courses to heating and electrical installers around the country. For those who are new to solar PV, a beginners course is available that requires no previous experience or qualifications. We created the five week solar PV course for new entrants, which delegates normally follow as a block, but can be taken on a part time basis Industry professionals looking to enhance their skills or to change the direction of their business often undertake the today solar PV course. This is particularly popular with electrical engineers, and the basic requirement is that they are 17th edition qualified.
It is essential for installers to gain both practical and theoretical skills, so our dedicated training centres around the UK enable ‘hands-on’ approach as they include indoor roofs, where practical skills can be perfected and assessed. The roofs feature different structures and building materials, such as slate and tile. Here, the trainee learns to fits solar panel and carry out alt the relevant connections to the inverter. This activity is then assessed, alongside the theoretical part of the course, to ascertain whether the individual is sufficiently qualified to carry nut a real-life solar PV or solar thermal installation
We find that the best results are gained through small groups (usually no more than eight people) ins classroom-based format. To make access easy for most installers, we now offer five dedicated training centres around the country — at Nottingham, York, Ipswich and Bognor Regis, as well as our head office in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.
An important part of many of the courses we offer is to educate the installer about suitable and unsuitable roofs. In the course we cover bows SAP calculation is carried out on a property to ascertain the expected gains from solar for the householder or building owner. We feel it is essential to retain the reputation of she industry that the technology is not mis-sold to customers who will not be able to reap the rewards of their investment.
Covering all angles
The courses cover all the criteria that a property must have far effective solar installation — the angle of the roof, for example If this is quite steep then a solar panel may not be advisable Similarly, if the building has a large amount of shading, then it is not recommended, unless the shading object can be removed. However, the orientation of the building is the main determining factor. Obviously, south facing roofs reap the best rewards, but we also demonstrate how west and east-facing buildings may also be suitable, in some situations. Again, a SAP calculation would determine the expected income, so the householder can make an informed judgement.
The industry is still waiting to hear the outcome of the Government’s decision on the Feed in Tariff and this is sure to affect the type of training we deliver and requirements from construction industry professionals in the future. Already we are responding to demand from installers and providing training in other renewables, such as wind turbine and heat pump installation. We also provide a dedicated course for Domestic Energy Assessors, in light of the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (see page 18).
We are also developing courses to enable installers to help homeowners to take advantage of the Green Deal and Renewable Heat Incentive. The RHI is a major driving force for many plumbing and heating engineers to move into solar thermal, as they see the opportunity this offers consumers to invest in this technology. Both the Green Deal and RHI are likely to open up huge opportunities for installers of renewable systems and many professionals ace recognising this and enhancing their skills to enable them to reap the benefits.
Find out more
For more details about Ploughcroft renewable products and services, visit the website www.ploughcroft.co.uk