With the unveiling of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) last month, a training company has announced that in order to meet increased demand they are expanding their renewable heat technologies courses to all centres nationwide.
With feed-in tariffs for solar PV installations facing severe cuts, the drop in demand threatens tens of thousands of jobs across the industry.
Brett Pearson, business development manager of EcoSkies, encourages PV installers across the UK to turn their attention towards renewable heat technology as the next hot spot in renewable energy technology.
“We’ve already seen a remarkable uptake in demand for training in solar thermal technologies, as installers bid to make the most of their existing skill sets. There is considerable synergy between solar PV and solar thermal installing in terms of skills and the equipment needed. From an installer’s point of view, all you need to get started is a bit of extra training and a good plumber or heating engineer.”
According to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) figures there are 4,423 installers certified to install renewables across all available technologies. A total of 3,816 of these installers (86%) are certified to install solar PV systems. At the point when Phase I of the RHI was opened to application only 782 (20%) of all PV installers were also certified by MCS to install solar thermal hot water systems.
In light of these figures Brett Pearson finds cause for hope in an industry that has lately had more than enough reasons for pessimism. “Any business is wise to spread their risk, especially when they’re an industry where, as we’ve learned about PV the hard way, the government is prone to move the goalposts without much notice,” he said. “Solar FiTs are specific to only one technology, and installers who are focusing on that one alone are putting all of their eggs in one very uncertain basket.
“On the other hand, the new RHI covers several technologies and is in many cases more generous than the FiT ever was.”