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20 April 2010

Renewable energy training centre to help meet soaring feed-in tariff demand

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Merseyside Green Energy Training Centre expected to be the first in a wave of new microgeneration training facilities

Plans were yesterday unveiled for a new £280,000 national training centre, designed to help tackle the emerging shortfall in skilled contractors capable of installing microgeneration technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The Green Energy Training Centre (GETC) on Merseyside is being funded by renewables manufacturer Stiebel Eltron, training provider Scientiam and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), and is intended to be the first in a wave of new national microgeneration training centres.

The centre is expected to start training 60 people a month from July, teaching them to install onsite renewable energy technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and small-scale wind turbines.

It is based at Stiebel's premises on Wirral International Business Park in Bromborough, Merseyside. In total, the German firm will invest £57,372, Scientiam will provide £100,050 and the SFA will issue a £122,275 grant through the Regional Skills Capital Development Fund.

The exact course syllabus has yet to be decided, but the firms insist that the training will comply with the government-backed Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), providing graduates with the certification they need to install renewable energy systems that qualify for the UK's feed-in tariff incentive scheme.

The centre is expected to play an important role in filling a skills gap as demand for green microgeneration technology grows. There are already signs that demand for microgeneration technologies is rising fast following the introduction of the feed-in tariff earlier this month, but recruitment agencies report a shortage of engineering and building staff with specialist renewable energy skills.


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