Getting the go ahead

Getting the go ahead

Oliver Duckworth explains how biomass installers can benefit from the imminent demand from homeowners now that the domestic version of the Renewable Heat Incentive is only a few months away.
Rising energy costs of fossil fuels, carbon emission reductions and government incentives to switch to renewable technologies have led to a heightened consumer awareness of biomass as a viable form of heating.

Since the recent publication of the domestic RHI policy on 12 July 2013, there are very real signs that the domestic biomass market is at long last starting to show signs of movement. The continuous delays and uncertainty in the RHI policy had caused the consumer to be uncertain if there would ever be a domestic RHI policy, which resulted in a significant slowing of demand in the domestic biomass market.
With the future now looking more positive, the industry must ensure that the skill set is in place to ensure that adequate installation capacity is available to undertake the expected increase in sales.
Customers investing in biomass need confidence in the quality of their new technology as well as the assurance that it can offer payback through both energy savings and lower fuel bills.
As a consequence, the need for established heating installation companies as well as new businesses to be familiar with the requirements and regulations involved in installing biomass has never been greater. The training of installers will not only enable this but will equip companies with the sales tools to explain the systems and benefits to consumers.
The domestic RHI is capped at 45kW thermal load, which means that all products and installation companies must be Microcertification Scheme (MCS) approved. As of the beginning of October 2013, there were fewer than 400 MCS-approved installation companies registered on the MCS website. This number needs to increase massively if the industry is going have the capacity to increase installation volumes.
The success of what is perceived to be a relatively new industry to the UK is dependent on three factors: quality reliable products, the high quality and trusted skill base of installers and ongoing customer service from both manufacturers and installers.
Top quality products depend on trained and registered installers, and it is this combination that is essential for the success of the industry. The introduction of a greater number of both will be a crucial step towards meeting the Government’s carbon reduction targets.
There is a huge pool of installation companies who are experienced with traditional (fossil fuel) boilers and who are Gas Safe and OFTEC registered; for these installers to undertake a small amount of training to understand the biomass technology would be a simple undertaking and for them to then gain MCS approval.
Windhager UK’s training programmes have already seen an upsurge in interest from potential new installers looking to diversify from their current skill sets into biomass. As a result, we have increased the number of product overview and technical training days to take up the increased demand.
There are exciting times ahead for installers, and those with vision can join with manufacturers to educate consumers of the benefits and incentives available for switching to biomass heating.
Installers who have a thorough enough skill base to support the growth in demand for both installations and after-sales support will be well placed for a very rewarding future.
Product Overview
A one day course open to companies and individuals interested in installing and selling Windhager products as well as architects, designers and specifiers. A mix of product presentations and practical demonstration of products and installations, this is considered an essential course step on the ladder.
Technical Training
Courses range from siting, building up and installation of appliances through to controls integration and commissioning. An essential, once companies have potential sales of appliances.
Training Refreshers
Installers are encouraged to maintain their knowledge and skill in attending regular up to date training refreshers – more products and control systems are being developed all the time.
HETAS Training
The HETAS H005 and H005BR biomass courses are considered to be an essential qualification too.