With the distraction of a third government legal challenge to the December Feed-in-Tariff reduction now ruled out by the Supreme Court, SummitSkills has stressed that it is now time for the PV industry to focus on the future.

The sector skills council for building services engineering represents many of the employers whose skilled operatives will be installing the photovoltaic panels which will be eligible for FiTs – electricians and plumbers, as well those working in the refrigeration, air conditioning, heating and ventilating industries.

SummitSkills’ own research suggests that demand for environmental technologies will outstrip the number of trained and skilled installers over the next few years. Those employers who are far sighted enough to invest before then in training up their workforce are likely to be in a better position to take advantage of the opportunities to grow their business and cater to that increasing consumer demand.

Keith Marshall OBE, chief executive of SummitSkills, said, “After the uncertainty of the last few months, the Supreme Court’s ruling should bring some welcome clarity for the PV industry. Whatever happens to Feed-in-Tariffs, crucial to the industry’s future success will be having the trained workforce to provide the high quality design, installation and maintenance that will enable this technology to deliver on its promised benefits.

For employers, now is the time to plan ahead for the workforce that you will need in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by renewable energy technologies. Employers rarely regret investing in the development of their staff as the right training benefits both individuals and the business. ”

A series of Green Deal Connections roadshows were recently organised around the UK by the Green Deal Skills Alliance, a partnership of SummitSkills, Asset Skills and CITB-ConstructionSkills. Through question and answer sessions at those events it was clear that the recent developments in the Feed-in-Tariffs scheme have made some employers more cautious about buying in to the Green Deal initiative on which the government is relying to improve the UK’s energy efficiency and meet carbon reduction targets.