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Solar Skills: London

Solar Skills: London is a project run by Solar Energy UK and the Mayor of London.

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.  

Overview

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 1GW 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.

Solar Energy UK is calling on the government to enable the deployment of 40 GW of solar energy in the UK by 2030. 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. 14 GW of solar power has been deployed to date across all market sectors in the UK, and there is at least 17 GW in the pipeline as of May 2021.

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.

The project 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.

Objectives

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 grants scheme to help London solar businesses provide training for their employees

The first part of the project will aim to develop a curriculum for new solar industry trainees. These could include those leaving secondary education, as well as those interested in retraining.

The project will then aim to run a series of workshops for people who are considering a career in solar energy, with the intention of supporting them to enter placements with London’s solar businesses.

Key information – such as the skills needed, job opportunities available in the industry, and training centres in the Capital – will be published on a portal on the Solar Energy UK website.

The project will also include a grant scheme for employers to access funding to support existing solar workers. The grant scheme will cover part of the cost of training courses for employees to improve their skills and knowledge of solar and related low-carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles and energy storage systems, including batteries.

Key dates

The grant scheme will open in Summer 2021. Prospective applicants will be encouraged to complete an Expression of Interest form to ensure they receive the latest information. More information on all aspects of this project can be found here.

Solar Energy UK and the Mayor of London will work with a variety of industry and training partners on this project.

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