Skills shortage looming if all new homes require solar panels

Solar panel installers on a roof

The demand for solar panel installers has jumped 315% during the last three years amid a looming skills crisis in the industry.

With the UK government considering new regulations to ensure new-build homes are fitted with pv solar panels, residential construction company Barrat Developments wants better training to meet an expected surge in demand for solar technicians.

Just 7,000 workers were employed in the solar industry in 2020.

But this figure will soar to 60,000 by 2030 according to trade association Solar Energy UK.

Record numbers of homeowners have already joined the green energy revolution – 230,000 solar panel and battery storage systems are forecast to be installed this year alone.

While the industry is thriving, it could struggle to cope if the government decides all new homes require solar panels.

Barrat Developments is supportive of that policy, which is already in place in Scotland.

However, it called for careful consideration of factors such as logistics and employment.

The company’s technical and innovation director, Oliver Novakovic said it is already working with manufacturers to establish a training system that will enable people in the industry to “scale up”.

It warned this won’t happen “overnight”.

Solar panel installers will help to cut carbon emissions

In addition to new builds, solar panel experts will install systems in the 23m homes still without rooftop insulation. 

Growing awareness of the cost-savings, energy independence and environmental benefits of solar are driving demand.

The government also believes solar energy is key to cutting carbon emissions and meeting its ambitious net-zero targets.

Head of climate policy, Helena Bennett, said on Monday: “We should be making it as easy as possible for households to take advantage of this pivotal technology in addressing the climate crisis, and finding ways to accelerate the UK’s goals for solar power generation.”

The government has already made proposals to update building regulations in the Future Homes Standard.

These regulations are expected to be compulsory for new homes from 2025.

When asked to comment on the story, a government spokesperson said it was “likely” solar panels would come as standard on all new builds in the future.

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