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Accrediting biomass installers in the North

David Wright talks about Schiedel's new renewables training centre
Government incentives are making biomass a very attractive alternative for heating homes and commercial premises through the power of renewable energy, and the market is being pushed forward like never before with £22 billion pounds being spent on heat in the United Kingdom.

The Government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the arrival of the Green Deal is said to be a key reason for the growth in this sector.

However, with this increase comes an increased need for trained and qualified technicians to install and service this renewable energy source.

The courses are designed for installers whether for commercial premises and office buildings, schools and nurseries, or residential property.

To meet the growing demand last year Tyne and Wear-based Schiedel Chimney Systems launched the first HETAS approved biomass boiler installation courses in the northern half of the United Kingdom.

The training centre, based in Washington, just south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne offers courses supporting all parts of the solid fuel and biomass appliance trade from an introduction to solid fuel right through to installation and maintenance.

One of only very few dedicated training centres in the UK has been specifically designed to meet the huge upsurge in both domestic and industrial biomass installations.

The facilities have been fitted out with ETA biomass equipment supplied by Northumberland-based company re:heat and installed by Hexham-based JP Westall, providing resources for the courses which include a mix of theoretical and practical assessment.

These courses are specifically tailored for heating engineers and contractors ensuring that they are up to speed with the latest in biomass technology. With 20 times more wood-fired boilers than heat pumps installed under the RHI scheme since its launch, heating engineers and contractors need to be keeping up to speed with the latest developments and initiatives.

The biomass industry is now a proven home and workplace heating solution and with the growth of the renewables sector it is also proven to be an eco-friendly option. For those working within the industry it is important to keep yourself up to date with information and accreditations.

The half day introductory feeder course gives people in the industry an opportunity to review what the biomass sector can bring to their own business as heat pumps become old technology.

With the huge growth in the renewable energy sector more home owners and businesses are installing biomass boilers and therefore there is much more demand for specialist fitters.

However, finding qualified tradespeople in this relatively new sector is difficult.

Applying theory to practice
After completing an intensive four-day specialist residential course, Adam Bainbridge of AG Bainbridge Plumbing & Heating in Barnard Castle, County Durham has successfully qualified as a HETAS approved biomass installer.

Having been in the industry for a number of years Adam has seen a considerable growth of the renewable energy sector and completed this course to gain the recognised qualifications, to fit and maintain both residential and corporate biomass boilers.

Mr Bainbridge was fully aware that for him to meet the needs of this evolving specialist market it was crucial that he secured the necessary qualifications. As a result he has fitted one biomass boiler and has another three jobs booked.

'The practical side of the course was excellent; it meant I could apply the theoretical information to the practical job,' Mr Bainbridge said. 'It also meant that on finishing the course I am completely competent with biomass boilers, which are another service I can add to the company's list of renewable energy capabilities'.

Through this registration both domestic and industrial users can be confident in the technicians they employ.

The H005 Biomass Installer Course is a very intensive programme.

It is hugely important for anyone considering fitting a biomass boiler of any type, that they employ a qualified installer. Mr Bainbridge is one of only a handful of people in the area that we understand has completed this HETAS approved accreditation.

// The author is marketing manager at Schiedel Chimney Systems //
14 August 2013

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