Heating professionals are recognising that their skills are transferable to renewable technology and are gaining new opportunities in the heat pump sector.
The government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) is helping to develop the market for heat pumps.
The RHPP, which provides £1,250 towards a ground-source heat pump and £850 towards an air-source heat pump, is expected to support around 25,000 installations and boost the trend towards renewables.
Heating engineers and plumbers are in a strong position to take advantage of this potentially lucrative new income stream. Their existing knowledge and understanding of Building Regulations, with many already qualified to at least NVQ Part 3 and in 17th edition wiring regulations, means they have many valuable and transferable skills to heat pump installation.
Putting in a heat pump system involves a completely different approach to system design from any other heating system, such as gas boilers or solid fuel.
As the technology is not reliant on a combustible fuel, it is important to plan a long-term strategy for the heat pump over the year. The real difference is at the commissioning stage, when extra care needs to be taken in order to avoid problems later on.
Installers of renewable energy systems find that customers are more interested and curious about the technology, how it works and what efficiencies it can deliver than they would be with traditional heating systems.
An important part of training involves explaining how to operate the controls and how to achieve the optimum performance. When the installer has this essential knowledge and understanding, it gives the customer much greater confidence and mitigates any problems or need for callbacks.
From the installer’s point of view, it makes sense to work with a heat pump manufacturer that has first-hand experience of installation and can offer dedicated training programmes in both domestic and commercial projects, as well as technical support to installers.
If the manufacturer has that experience of installation and can offer support and back-up, it can ensure installers will be well placed to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves through this cleaner, greener source of energy.
Stephen Andrews is technical manager for Danfoss Heat Pumps