Home News Solar energy workforce goals ambitious but achievable, says new electrical skills research

Solar energy workforce goals ambitious but achievable, says new electrical skills research

Achieving the UK government’s target of 70GW of Solar Power by 2035 raises some significant challenges.

One of these is the availability of electricians qualified to install and commission Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) and other low carbon technologies. According to new research commissioned by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership, the country fortunately needs just 500 more qualified electricians each year to realise its Solar aspirations.

The research, carried out by Pye Tait, shows that for many electrical firms installing Solar PV is not their sole occupation. A fully qualified electrician can upskill to install Solar PV, Energy Storage Systems and other net zero technologies in just a few days. Electrical apprenticeships in England already incorporate training in low carbon and smart technologies, including Solar PV. What’s more, employing qualified electricians provides business agility, as they can integrate a range of different technologies to work efficiently together, all at the same time.

The new data shows that while employers involved in Solar PV currently identify challenges in recruiting and training more electricians, 500 more each year is entirely achievable. With improvements in the skills system and greater collaboration between industry and education, there is a clear path to removing existing obstacles.

The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), has recently launched the Recharging Electrical Skills Charter. The Charter calls for closer ties between industry, governments and education, to grow the competent electrical workforce to support the net zero transition. The trade body highlights the importance of electricians to the energy transition. It sees the short-term fix of ‘bootcamp style’ courses for new entrants as a cul-de-sac for learners and industry, as well as a waste of public resources.

Andrew Eldred, ECA’s Director of Workforce and Public Affairs, said: “Electrical courses of all kinds are in huge demand, so it’s clear there is no shortage of people wanting to join the industry. The main problem is completing learners’ training to the right, industry-recognised standards. To increase the size of the qualified electrical workforce, we must fix the broken skills pipeline. The Recharging Electrical Skills Charter offers an achievable policy programme to mend the broken pipeline. This will boost the numbers of qualified electricians needed to achieve the UK’s net zero targets.”

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