Solar Skills London is a project run by Solar Energy UK, the Mayor of London, and MCS.
It is intended to help develop the solar supply chain in London, by supporting the creation of new jobs and a high-quality pipeline of talent for the capital’s solar businesses.
Solar Skills London will support London’s contribution to the UK’s roll-out of clean energy infrastructure. The Mayor of London has a specific commitment to deploying 1.5GW of solar PV in the city by 2030 as part of its climate change objectives, and new solutions have been developed to make planning these projects easier, including the London Solar Opportunity Map.
As part of its Energy Security Strategy, the UK government has said that it expects 70GW of solar deployment around the country by 2035. This is in line with independent analysis of the UK’s solar needs if it is to have a carbon net zero economy by 2030.
This reflects the success of solar technology in the UK. 15 GW of solar power has been deployed to date across all market sectors in the UK, and there is at least 37GW in the pipeline as of mid 2022.
London has significant rooftop solar potential, in particular, and is host to innovative solar projects. These include, for example, Hackney Light and Power, a company launched by Hackney Council to provide renewable energy services, and Solar Together, the group-buying scheme which has seen wide take-up in the capital.
Solar Skills London responds to the need identified by Solar Energy UK members for more skilled electrical workers to join the solar industry. A 2020 survey of the electrotechnical industry run by the Electrical Contractors’ Association in partnership with Solar Energy UK found that almost half of those trading in solar and storage lacked access to skilled employees, and that there was insufficient industry training available.
If London is to deliver on its solar ambitions, it will need a skilled workforce. The Solar Skills London project will help deliver this, by identifying new solar industry trainees and providing them with training and opportunities to join the industry.
The first phase of Solar Skills London has five objectives:
- The development of a solar PV learner curriculum
- A series of introductory workshops for potential new solar sector trainees
- The creation of a placement programme for trainees with London solar businesses
- The publication of an online solar training and careers hub for the capital
- A grant scheme to help London solar businesses provide training for their employees
In the second phase, MCS is further developing the solar supply chain in London by increasing the number of businesses certified as solar PV installers in Greater London.
Key information on careers in solar – such as the skills needed, job opportunities available in the industry, and training centres in the capital – is available on the Solar Skills London Careers Hub.