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Sustainability: How to profit from the renewables market

As demand for renewable technologies increases, Kingspan Solar's managing director Cameron Holroyd looks at how installers can learn and earn through certified training.
The UK has a commitment to delivering a share in the EU target for 20 per cent of energy to come from renewable sources. This renewable energy strategy could provide a massive £100 billion-worth of investment opportunities and up to half a million jobs in the energy sector. With 50 per cent of all our energy used for heating and hot water, it's vital that plumbing and heating professionals are well equipped to meet these targets and match growing demand.

Local installers remain the first port of call for most customers, and the commercial opportunity for those looking to include renewable technologies in their client offering has never been greater.

Installers who can provide verification of trustworthy knowledge, understanding and quality will be in the best position to respond to the expanding interest in sustainable products. The right training will give installers improved business prospects and an expanded skills base, but accredited schemes will allow them to offer trusted and competent installations and products in a competitive market.

Government incentives, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), currently planned for 2011, aim to encourage renewable heat generation among households and communities, in return for payments for the power or energy they produce. However, it's important to note that in order for end users to be eligible for RHI payments, both installers and the products they use must first be approved under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

Roof units at the Kingspan Solar training centre

The MCS is an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme, established to provide both installers and renewable products with an approved mark of confidence to meet customers' high expectations. Low- and zero-carbon products and installers that carry the MCS mark will be the preferred choice as customers look to make the economic savings offered by the RHI - and accredited training schemes are here to help installers to qualify.

As a leading manufacturer of solar thermal and heat pump systems, as well as high-performance hot water storage solutions, we have an important role to play in helping installers reach the level of competence set out in the MCS scheme. This is why we have opened our Kingspan Solar training centre in Halesowen, which is set up to equip experienced heating, plumbing and building professionals with all the skills they need to facilitate high-quality renewable energy installations - all under one roof.

Train to gain

The first step for installers aiming for MCS certification is the completion of an approved course. When it comes to training, schemes provided by market-leading suppliers gives the added benefit of a trusted level of commitment and expertise.
The wide range of courses at the new Kingspan Solar training centre gives tradesmen the opportunity to gain industry-standard NICEIC certification across a broad product portfolio. This, in turn, helps installers gain MCS accreditation. By providing certified training and helping installers prepare for their MCS assessment, we can help them register for accreditation in as little as three weeks.

Training in conjunction with Dudley College

On completion of an approved course, installers can then register on a Competent Person Scheme (CPS), after which work can be self-certified online and members can apply for an MCS number. This number allows installers to give quotations for work as a competent person, and gives MCS approval.

Kingspan Solar training

The new Kingspan Solar training facility is for installers looking to increase turnover and profits through an in-depth understanding of a range of solar thermal (both flat plate panels and vacuum tubes), air to water heat pumps and unvented hot water systems, as well as taking the right steps towards industry accreditation.

The training is provided in conjunction with the Dudley College Centre for Engineering and Construction Industries and ranges from one to four days on the following array of topics:

· The need for renewable energy
· Environmental benefits, running costs and grants available for customers
· Systems available
· Appropriate use of renewable energy
· Installation options and siting
· Building regulations
· Plumbing layout and design
· Installing units
· Control options and power requirements
· Hot water storage and key installation issues with renewable energy sources
· Health and safety
· Fault finding system commissioning and handover to client

Installers also benefit from advice on government grant funding, as well as after sales and technical support from the Kingspan brand. To apply for any Kingspan courses, call 01384 363 548. A discount voucher scheme is available to help cover training costs.
8 August 2010

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