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Joining the solar system

Members get to grips with renewable tech on our new training course

Solar photovoltaic (PV) and electrical energy storage systems (EESS) are increasingly becoming part of the modern electrician’s world, and SELECT has been keen to provide suitable installation training for some time.

Judging by feedback, Members are also seeing a rising demand from customers for the installation of such systems, so we were happy to partner with industry experts GTEC Training to deliver suitable training exclusively for Members.

The result is two pilot training courses – three days covering solar PV installation and two days covering EESS installation – the first of which was rolled out in March, with places limited to 12 people per course. Both pilots were fully subscribed shortly after being made available, which just goes to show the demand that exists.

The first pilot PV course was held at the Craighaar Hotel in Aberdeen from 27-29 March with the EESS session held in the same venue on 30-31 March. On the opening day of the first session, the 12 SELECT Members who attended were given an introduction to the technology and an overview of its electrical requirements. They then got hands-on with the units themselves as they were talked through the installation process. Members then covered remote locations, back-up energy storage, energy efficiency and business opportunities.

Fraser Forbes from Elgin-based Member company FA Construction Ltd said: “The course was very informative, there was a lot of information to take in and it was all very interesting.”

Richard Strathdee from fellow Member firm Richard Strathdee Ltd, based in Aberlour, was also impressed by the first day. He said: “So far the course has provided good knowledge on all aspects of installing solar PV and I’ve learned things that I wasn’t expecting.”

Euan Duff from Stenson (Laurencekirk) Ltd was another Member who really enjoyed the opening day of learning. He said afterwards: “It was a real eye-opener and there was plenty of information to absorb. The trainer was very knowledgeable and extremely patient with the delegates.”

GTEC instructor Griff Thomas was also extremely pleased with how the first day went, telling me: “The course went really well, with a great range of candidates who are obviously keen to get out and start fitting low carbon generation.

“A lot of these contractors work for customers in remote locations, where using energy storage as back-up will be invaluable and help them become more energy independent.

“These courses will also provide more business opportunities for the contractors themselves as they learn how to work with renewables faster and more efficiently, bringing better value to their operation.”

From a personal point of view, it was great to see the courses finally being rolled out. We’ve spent a long time searching for the right solution for Members and judging by the feedback, GTEC certainly seem to have ticked all the right boxes so far.

The second batch of the pilot courses will be delivered in the SELECT Training Centre at The Walled Garden, with solar PV training from 24-26 April and the EESS session on 27-28 April.

Further solar PV sessions will be held in Glasgow on 15-17 May and Dumfries on 5-7 June, with EESS modules being run in Glasgow on 18-19 May and Dumfries on 8-9 June. Venues for both were still to be confirmed as cabletalk went to press.

After these initial courses, we hope to roll out further GTEC training courses in the coming months if there is sufficient demand.

We would like to hear from Members who would be interested in either training in solar PV or EESS or both, so have outlined the format and requirements below to help you see what’s involved.

Solar PV installation

This three-day session is aimed at experienced domestic and commercial electricians who wish to include solar PV in their offering.

Completion of the course will provide you with Level 3 certification, increasing your credibility and giving you the competitive edge, as well as showing your customers that you’re trained to the highest standards.

The course will give you detailed explanations and practical examples of the applicable regulations and guidance, and will cover the following topics:

  • Background to market and grant funding routes, including the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

  • Regulations and standards

  • Health and safety considerations

  • AC and DC theory

  • PV cell types and benefits

  • PV external and internal site survey requirements

  • Solar PV circuit design

  • PV system design and integration

  • Setting to work and commissioning

  • Solar PV servicing and fault finding.

During the training, you’ll have a chance to work with two different types of fully functioning modules and inverters, including roof mounting kits, as well as live equipment.

The course entails both classroom and practical training, with a practical observed assignment, and theoretical and multiple-choice assessment at the end of the final day. The assessments are open book and use the applicable standards and regulations.

Although the course doesn’t give you MCS accreditation, it does enable you to meet the MCS training entry requirements. It’s available for SELECT Members only and costs £660 + VAT per person.

EESS installation

This two-day module covers the installation of dedicated EESS in accordance with the IET Code of Practice and will provide theoretical and practical knowledge, enabling you to apply the relevant regulations and guidance.

Research and development in recent years has seen battery technology greatly improve, leading to wider use in domestic settings. You’ll therefore learn how to size and safely install an EESS to meet a customer’s needs and help them make savings on their energy bills.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Know the key requirements for installation of EESS

  • Know and identify equipment, arrangements and operating modes

  • Understand the preparation of design and installation

  • Be able to prepare for installation

  • Be able to install EESS

  • Understand the requirements for initial verification and handover

  • Be able to conduct initial verification and handover.

The course entails both classroom and practical training, with an assessment that consists of both a practical and online/theory component. It’s available for SELECT Members only and costs £495 + VAT per person.



The issue of MCS continues to be a topic of conversation and controversy among Members, so the following may help:

  • The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certifies low-carbon products and installations used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources.

  • You DON’T need MCS if you are merely installing or connecting solar PV or EESS, unless that work is funded via the Energy Saving Trust (EST).

  • SELECT has met with the CEO of the Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division who has advised that there are currently no requirements to apply for a building warrant if you are only installing any of the above technologies on their own. This is unlikely to change.

  • However, if a warrant is sought – e.g. for a new build site and solar PV and EESS is contained in the work – the warrant will encompass this work.

  • The EST, which is managing the grants and loans for the installation of such products, are asking for contractors to be MCS approved. This would appear to be the only definitive requirement of MCS membership.

Some Members have been asked by certain local authority verifiers to produce evidence that they are MCS approved to obtain a Completion Certificate. We have met with Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) who have agreed to review the guidance they issue to their members about certification.

This is still to be finalised, but we hope it may assist resolve some of the questions raised about MCS certification, especially for Approved Certifiers of Construction.

In the coming months, SELECT will be investigating what work connected to solar PV and EESS Members undertake or plan to undertake, i.e. do they just connect the products or are they the lead contractor? This will allow us the opportunity to consider our next steps regarding MCS certification.



GTEC Training is a leading provider of renewable training in the UK, with all courses certified by LCL Awards. GTEC specialises in the provision of electrical, renewable, DEA, OFTEC and training along with specifically tailored training programmes, as well as offering IT solutions and many other bespoke services in the building service industry. Find out more at


Upcoming courses

Solar PV installation 15-17 May, Glasgow 5-7 June, Dumfries

EESS installation 18-19 May, Glasgow 8-9 June, Dumfries

Venues to be confirmed. For details, email or call 0131 445 5577


EESS Training At A Glance

Pre-course training requirements

SELECT equivalent

Materials to bring to course

Current Requirements for Electrical Installations BS 7671:2018

(18th Edition) Qualification

SELECT Requirements for Electrical Installations to BS 7671:2018 Qualification (course 218). Must be dated from July 2018 onwards

  • IET Code of Practice for Electrical Energy Storage Systems (2nd Edition)

  • Requirements for Electrical Installations (18th Edition Wiring Regulations)

  • BS 7671:2018+A2:2022, AKA ‘the brown book’

Ideally a Level 3 (or equivalent) Electrical Qualification

Proof of apprenticeship or up-to-date grade card

  • Guidance Note 3 – Inspection and Testing (9th Edition)

  • On Site Guide (18th Edition Wiring Regulations)

  • BS 7671:2018+A2:2022, AKA ‘the brown book’


Solar PV training at a glance

Pre-course training requirements

SELECT equivalent

Materials to bring to course

Level 3 (or equivalent) Electrotechnical S/NVQ Qualification

Proof of apprenticeship or up-to-date grade card

Requirements for Electrical Installations (18th Edition Wiring Regulations)

Current Requirements for Electrical Installations BS 7671:2018 (18th Edition) Qualification

SELECT Requirements for Electrical Installations to BS 7671:2018 Qualification (Course 218). Must be dated from July 2018 onwards

BS 7671:2018+A2:2022, AKA ‘the brown book’

Level 3 (or equivalent) Qualification in Initial Verification and Certification of Electrical Installations

Either SELECT Initial Verification (course 209) or Inspection & Testing (including periodic inspection), course 214


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