Training Supplement: Learning to earn from solar

The government's ambitious target to cut 60% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 means business for installers who are ready to work with micro-generation technologies such as solar thermal hot water. Peter Dayton, (right) technical director for Gas Logic, explains the importance of gaining relevant training
Training Supplement: Learning to earn from solar
To boost growth in micro-generation technology, the DTI's Low Carbon Building Programme provides funding for commercial and domestic micro-generation projects, such as Generation Homes' current pilot scheme. For installers to become involved in projects such as this, it is essential to gain accreditation via a recognised training course.

Generation Homes is a national scheme to install micro-generation technology into existing domestic property. Its aim is to address the energy efficiency of existing housing stock across the UK, 80% of which is likely to still be with us in 2050. It plans to develop a series of demonstration projects that achieve the Generation Homes standard, before rolling out on a larger scale with a streamlined major refurbishment of groups of existing houses. This will improve cost-effectiveness and stimulate the low-carbon sector of the economy.

In Lewisham, an area currently undergoing huge regeneration, two local authority houses have recently had solar panels installed as part of this scheme. The installers were Danny Tickner and David Johnson of Invicta Building Services, a company that understands the business case for micro-generation technology.

Danny Tickner, operations director for Invicta, said: 'At Invicta, we are conscious that the renewables market is becoming more desirable and ultimately necessary. Climate change is an obvious and real concern. Much of our work comes from local authorities and housing associations, in the form of both refurbishments and new build, which have to meet carbon emission guidelines.'

The Low Carbon Building Programme, which has helped make Generation Homes possible, dictates that installers involved in these projects must be accredited, both to install and commission the finished work. There are a number of ways that this can be achieved, through proof of relevant experience and training. Logic Certification's Solar Thermal Domestic Hot Water (STDHW) course is one of only two courses recognised by the Low Carbon Building Programme. Invicta Building Services completed this course at Gas Logic's dedicated training centre in Northolt.

Danny says: 'We chose Logic Certification's STDHW course at Gas Logic because it is recognised by the Low Carbon Building Programme, and the centre's location was convenient for us. I was extremely impressed. In the past, I have found some installer-training courses slightly mundane but this was a breath of fresh air. The testing facilities were excellent, and I particularly liked the on-screen element.'

For Invicta Building Services, the installations in Lewisham are just the tip of the iceberg. It has many more solar and other micro-generation projects in the pipeline. Danny adds: 'Attending the STDHW course at Gas Logic was imperative to Invicta for this particular project with Generation Homes. And, as we win more jobs within this field, for solar, I intend to continue sending staff on Gas Logic's course.'

The course takes two to three days and costs £375 exclusive of VAT. It equips experienced heating and plumbing engineers with the skills required to install and commission indirect STDHW circuits, where these circuits are integrated with a conventional domestic heating and hot water system.

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020 8845 7222
1 August 2007


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