Trade body Solar Energy UK and London’s Mayor are delivering £1,000 grants to firms eager to train up the next generation of skilled installers of PV panels, batteries and low-carbon kit.

First launched last July, the programme to fill skills gaps among PV installation workers reaches its second stage on 14 January.

That’s the closing date for applications for the £1,000 training grants.  Afterwards, applicants among eligible firms adding value to domestic and commercial roofs will learn if they’ve won cash to help meet costs of deepening London’s pool of installer talent.

The scheme forms part of Solar Skills: London, a project fostering technical development and support for Londoners seeking to pursue a career in the ever-expanding solar industry.

The capital’s solar capacity is growing, with Mayor Sadiq Khan targeting 1GW of new deployment by 2030.  That figure could provide enough power to run over half a million electric vehicles each year.

A dearth of technically qualified tradespeople could yet frustrate the Mayor’s ambitions, though.  A 2020 survey of electrotechnical firms run by the Electrical Contractors’ Association with Solar Energy UK found that almost half of traders in solar and storage lacked access to skilled employees, due to insufficient industry training.

When launching the skills programme, Chris Hewett, director of Solar Energy UK said: “This is an exciting opportunity for London’s solar businesses.  The funding we are making available, with the support of the Mayor of London, will enable solar technicians to develop their skills.

“Solar power, energy storage systems and electric vehicles are vital to delivering a net zero capital. Now is the time to support the solar companies that are helping to realise London’s solar potential. We encourage everyone who is eligible to apply for a grant.”

Shirley Rodrigues, Khan’s deputy responsible for environment and energy, said at the time: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Solar Energy UK to invest in London’s solar workforce.

“This programme will provide training and apprenticeships in solar technologies and help create more green jobs”.

City Hall has also launched an online London Solar opportunity map, intended to spur interest among snoozy freeholders, property owners and asset managers.  UCL’s Energy Institute and its Centre of Advanced Spatial Awareness researched the resource, wjich was modelled on a forerunner in New York.

Full details of the £1,000 grants, including eligibility criteria and an application form, are available here.   For more information on Solar Skills: London, visit the project page.


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