First Solar Thermal Installer Training course at Bicton EaRTH

Bicton EaRTH, the new centre of excellence for renewable technology and sustainability training at Bicton College, is launching a new Solar Thermal Installation qualification as part of its suite of environmental technology courses.

Aimed at qualified plumbers and heating engineers, the Level 3 Solar Thermal Installer Training and Assessment has been developed with industry to give candidates the knowledge and skills required to install solar thermal hot water systems. The course covers the fundamental working principles of a solar thermal system as well as the regulatory, installation, commissioning and servicing requirements.  

Jonathan Davis, Bicton EaRTH Training Coordinator, says, “With the introduction of the new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) home owners will be rewarded for generating their own hot water, sustainably. This will potentially make a Solar Thermal installation as financially attractive as a PV installation. We are expecting next year to see a huge increase in the demand for domestic solar thermal installations.”

Greg Hopkins, Bicton EaRTH Vocational Trainer, says “We have a solar panel, pumping station and cylinder supplied by Nu Heat which the students will actually put together and commission, getting real installation experience as part of the course. As an installer myself I will teach candidates realistic installation examples giving them the chance to find out for themselves the small details and learn about the things that can go wrong. It is the best kind of learning.”  

The 5-day course is intended for practicing plumbers or heating engineers, qualified to Level 3 in plumbing or heating and ventilation and will assist those companies seeking MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) registration.  The first Solar Thermal Installer Training and Assessment course begins on Monday 19th September at Bicton College and costs £695 including lunch and refreshments.

Building work on the new Bicton EaRTH training centre began in May 2011incorporating a range of renewable technologies including solar PV, solar thermal, under floor heating, heat pumps, biomass heating, grey water systems and rain water harvesting to provide a working example of a carbon neutral retro fit building. The building incorporates training units, working technology demonstration areas, an interpretation centre and a conference facility and will be open in Spring 2012.

Bicton EaRTH is currently running monthly PV Installer Training and Assessment courses for qualified electricians and a one day guide to MCS Accreditation for office administrators.   Additional courses covering biomass heating, heat pumps and rain water harvesting start from the new Bicton EaRTH building in April 2012.

For more details about Bicton EaRTH courses visit