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Posted by Chloe Bennett on 30th November 2011

A great man once said "all great men have moustaches" (rod kimble) and as the month of Movember draws to a close, we must remember why we grew and supported those who grew the gentlemanly moustache.

 Together our team have raised a tasty sum to the worthy cause and created so much more awareness with the unruly creations that have ‘naturally’ grown upon our teams faces. Amongst the handlebars and the traditional mo lie some great hearts that have chosen to lend their face to raise awareness of this cause by growing moustaches. The money donated to Movember is directed to programmes run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners – The Prostate Cancer charity and the Institute of Cancer Research.

Whilst November is aptly named to allow an amalgamation of itself and ‘moustache’ it’s certainly not the only month than we should take time to raise money for these charities. Throughout the year we’re informed that those who have signed up to Movember.com will receive a couple of updates throughout the year so inform the mo bros and sisters how their donations are being spent. “We hope this will help you appreciate the incredible work that is being carried out as a direct result of your fundraising efforts,” says the company.

Here are a couple of close ups of some of our guys:

The sadness of this month ending has also enabled #goodbyemovember to start trending on Twitter.

Here’s a couple of our favourites;

We don't have to say #goodbyemovember - come on men, advance with pride into Decembeard!#

#goodbyemovember I am going to have a moment of silence before I say good bye and then a burial at sea for my Mo


Categories: company news

Validation Time; The Solar PV FIT Inquiry

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 29th November 2011

Validation time; Greg Barker to face questions over solar incentive cuts

Today a rare inquiry is set to take place as MP’s from two parliamentary select committees aim to seek facts over rapid incentive cuts and their effect on the UK’s solar industry. This inquiry is set to help establish the impact on job creation, social housing and community schemes.

The inquiry will be chaired by MP Tim Yeo, the Energy and Climate Change Committee and Environmental Audit Committee, and will question Greg Barker this afternoon and as well as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Permanent Secretary Moira Wallace and DECC Director General Simon Virley.

"We just want to try and understand how the government came to reach a decision to cut the incentive so quickly and what impact that's going to have in getting solar PV into the energy mix on a long-term basis," said Environmental Audit Committee chairwoman, Joan Walley MP.

The inquiry will result in a report containing recommendations of which the DECC is required to respond to. Even though we agree that the current FiT rates are unsustainable and a cut was necessary to protect future incentives, it will be interesting to see how Barker defends the time period in which the cuts are being incorporated. Installers have had less than 40 days to complete installations to ensure that their customers received the higher incentive of 43.3p KwH. Even Barker must admit that he could have handled this better.


Categories: government, feed-in-tariff

Nearly time to get clean

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 25th November 2011

As November draws to a close and we prepare for the festive season to begin, we shall take a moment to commemorate our teammates that have put their dignity to one side to raise money and awareness for ‘Movember.’ 'Movember' is a portmanteau of ‘moustache’ and ‘November’ and is an annual month long event which involves the growing of a moustache in order to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues.

Our fabulous team consisting of Joe Bennett, Noah Saks, Paul Fatkin, Kris Edwards, James Deans (mobro above), Terry White, Mark Syrett and our wonderful director Carl Bennett together have managed to raise a cool £119 so far, but with a couple of days left we’re urging you guys to help raise some cash to support this charity and the message the mo’s bring.

We’ll be adding to the funds next week to make sure we’re donating a pretty sum but It’d be nice if we got a little bit of help from our friends :o) To check out our Movember team page follow this link: http://mobro.co/tradeskills4u

We’ll be taking photos of our boys next week so you can marvel at the hairy art upon their faces or mock them – either way, but trust me it’s worth taking a look to see what they've been growing.

Until next week compadres!

Categories: company news

£200 million funding injection into Green Deal

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 24th November 2011

Today our ambitious government have announced a new funding scheme to help encourage the UK’s householder into making their home more energy efficient.

This scheme, called the Green Deal, will kick off in October 2012 with 200 million pounds worth of incentives to encourage homeowners to take out loans and invest in energy saving measures. The ‘golden rule’ is that the homeowner’s savings will be greater than the loan repayments.

The £200 million funding from the Treasury could be worth hundreds to those that take up the deal in the first year however how this incentive is actually being delivered is yet to                                                                                  be announced.  Discounts on council tax and cash back offers                                                                                  are amongst the few that have been mentioned at present.

This announcement also combined details of the eagerly awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which will officially start next week. The launch of the first phase of the scheme was delayed due to EU state aid appeal but is now back on track and open for business. The RHI itself is an incentive scheme similar to the Solar PV Feed in Tariff (FIT), which was launched back in April 2010, where financial support is provided to individuals, communities and business for switching from using traditional fossil fuels for heating to renewable courses such as wood pellets using biomass boilers and water fuel using solar thermal technology.

Although it is obviously good news that the government are still investing big bucks into this industry, those that have been affected by the recent FIT cuts might be cautious of this new funding announcement. However there is one thing we can be sure of; where there are incentives there will be demand, when there is sufficient demand there may be revisions so it’s always best to get in first.


Categories: green deal, decc, government, solar pv

Solar PV Tools.co.uk - Product of the month

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 22nd November 2011

Bespoke Test kits for solar PV installation

Solar PV Tools.co.uk installation tool kits are reportedly built to be one of the best kits around and contain the complete range of solar PV tools you would need to install and maintain on PV systems including those with MC3 MC4 connections.

These specialist kits comes in a protective case with a pre-cut foam lining to ensure the maximum safety for your tools inside and are ideal for installers who are doing their MCS training or are going for their MCS accreditation.

Their tools kits range from a basic ‘PV kit 1’ to a complete ‘build your own kit’ option where you can tell them what you need  and they’ll built a custom case just for you. So whether you need a solar irradiance meter, a clamp meter, infrared thermometer gun or all three, their friendly team will happy to build the kit you need for a very competitive price.

For more information on the types of kits you can buy and build see their website www.solarpvtools.co.uk



Categories: company news

Important: Domestic Installer Qualification Delayed

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 16th November 2011

Part P Registration Business As Usual In The New Year

Back in October we published a ‘Message from Our Director’ announcing that there will be changes made to the existing Domestic Installer Qualification. These changes were originally supposed to come in 1st January 2012 however as this target date is fast fading, the NICEIC have reported that they will keep ‘business as usual’ by continuing to accept previous registrations requirements. This means that at present the qualifications required to register as a competent domestic installer are all contained within our Bronze Domestic Installers Package.

So what does this mean for you?

If you are already training and rushing to get registered on a competent person’s scheme you can breathe a sigh of relief. You now have some extra time to complete the qualifications and your assessed installations.

If you were thinking of training but have been putting it off, this is an opportunity not to be missed. The new qualification (when it does arrive) is likely to be longer in length and will therefore be subject to price increases. From a student’s perspective it might not be a bad idea to begin training before the changes come in to avoid these costs.

Obviously, from a training provider’s perspective once the entire framework has been written and confirmed, we are really looking forward to delivering the new qualification when it does finally arrive. This is something we and many others in the industry have been wanting for some time and if done right, it will lead to safer, better practices for all.

So be assured that as soon as the new domestic installer’s qualification is released you will be able to take this with us at Trade Skills 4U. As always we will be on the cutting edge of the electrical and renewable industry and will always offer the latest most up to date qualifications. In the meantime we’ll keep you updated with announcements as they come through and endeavour to make any transition the industry coughs up as stress free for you guys as possible.


Categories: company news, electrical qualifications

Lest We Forget

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 14th November 2011

In a heartfelt tribute held yesterday at the Cenotaph in Central London, the Queen led tributes to all the brave soldiers who served heroically and died for their country.

The Sunday morning ceremony saw the warm autumn sun shine over the vast crowds who surrounded the memorial. The sea of people stood in silence as wreaths were laid by her majesty the Queen before other members of the royal family stepped forward to do the same.

Amongst the Royalty, Military officers, politicians stood veterans and civilians, all shoulder to shoulder to remember the dead and those who have served – past and present.

As part of our support for those who have served in the forces, Trade Skills 4U have a dedicated bursary scheme for those who have served and fallen on hard times. We honour, cherish and respect all efforts great and small and would like to do what we can to help protect your future by helping you formulate a career for yourself after life in the military.

Our ‘Forgotten Heroes Bursary Scheme’ is something we strongly believe in and has already helped two ex-soldiers back onto their feet with one having found employment since retraining with us back in August.

We are only a small company and have to give these bursaries to candidates based on need, but where possible we will do what we can to help everyone that applies. If you could do with a helping hand or know someone who could, please contact our team on 01293 529777 or visit our dedicated Forgotten Heroes Bursary page.


Categories: forgotten heroes bursary scheme

Calling All Solar PV Installers

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 2nd November 2011

Since the announcement of the Feed-in-tariff cuts on 31st October 2011, everyone is in an absolute rush to make sure their installation is completed before the deadline of 12th December 2011 in order to be eligible for the ‘old’ tariff rate of 43.3p kWh.

We’ve received so many calls as of late by some of our partners who specialise in solar PV installation proclaiming the urgency to get hold of installers so that they can implement as many installations as possible before the December deadline.

One of our partners said:

“Up until this announcement we were normally completing 17 installations a month, over the past two days we’ve done 20 installations!”

In order to do what we can we’ve done a mail shot to every installer that has completed wither BPEC solar PV installation course or the City & Guilds 2399 solar PV installation course with us and asked them to contact the following companies if they are looking for work.

If you are a solar PV installer and are looking for work: give the following companies a call as they are crying out for you.

RIG Energy Recruitment 

The Green Homes Company

JoJu Solar  


Keep an eye out for our jobs page as we are currently developing this to include both job opportunities as well as a skills swap exchange feature.


Categories: company news, decc, government, solar pv, feed-in-tariff

Trade Skills 4U are doing Movember

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 1st November 2011

November is the 11th month in the year. It is the month that remembers Guy Fawkes and the anniversary of his failed gunpowder plot, a month that remembers those who have died on duty since the First World War and apparently, the month to grow a mooey.


For those of you who are unaware what I’m going on about, let me introduce to you Movember. Movember is a portmanteau of ‘moustache’ and ‘November’ and is an annual month long event which involves the growing of a moustache in order to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. The reason why I’ve decided to blog about this is because our entire office (apart from the skeleton female staff of 5) is going to get involved.

Now there are some rules with this event,

• The face should be completely shaved including the upper lip on ‘Shadowe’en (October 31.)

• For the entire month of Movember no hair is allowed to grown in the goatee or beard zone.

• And there is to be no joining of the moustache to the sideburns.

To support our guys, I’ll be taking a photo every week for 4 weeks to document their progress as well as posting links online to their Movember accounts so you can help sponsor our Trade Skills 4U team.

Trade Skills 4U Movember profile: http://uk.movember.com/mospace/627852

If you’re interested in growing a Mooey for Movember, why not sign up and help raise awareness in this worthwhile and notable cause. See uk.movember.com for more details.

Our Day one clean shaven boys:

Categories: company news

Changes to the Feed In Tariff’s and the Impact On Small Installers

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 1st November 2011

On the 31st of October a consultation document reviewing the Feed In Tariffs (FIT’s) was published. Since then there has been much speculation on the impact of the solar industry. In the document there are proposals to cut the feed in tariffs for a variety of installations. These are proposals only.

The reason for the change is due to the better than expected take up of solar panels which has subsequently reduced cost of the installation. Essentially the scheme has been too successful. With the cost of the panels and installation dropping so quickly the FIT tariff shone out as a not just a great option to go carbon neutral but also one of the best investment opportunities in the UK.

The tariff was always going to be reduced at regular intervals to keep them in line with the cost of installation, which will continue to decrease. So the fact that they are being cut comes as no surprise and makes perfect sense. The industry will still be subsidised and will still continue to grow. Minister of Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker defended the proposed cuts on Monday morning, saying: ‘Being sensible with tariffs means there will be more money to go round.’

Any installs for retro fit properties registered before the 12th of December will still be eligible to receive the 43.3p per kWh. Following this date homeowners will be subject to the lower tariff of 21p per kWh. However this is all to be confirmed on the 23rd December and could still be subject to change.

So what does this all mean for the installer?

It’s not bad news; in the long term; it’s good news.

We’ve no doubt the immediate reaction to this will be panic, but that should not be the reaction. The original idea of FIT’s was to support the small individual domestic installation, not give tax dollars to ‘free roof’ companies. The review reinforces the original idea and in the long term small installer will become the dominant installers of the PV industry.

Many free roof companies are up in arms in particular about the short timescale given for these changes to come into force. The biggest issue appears to be that there will be a huge rush over the next six weeks to complete projects which have already been commissioned under the old rules. This puts a huge amount of strain on an industry which is still short of labour resources.

With just a six week window to complete installations some companies have already seen a 400% increase in orders for parts and resources in just 1 day.

‘Free roof’ companies will reduce but not disappear despite opinions at the moment , that will mean more opportunity for the small installer, sensible pricing, intelligent selling to customers, in other words proper ways to run small businesses will secure a good opportunity for years to come.


It’s good business for the installer or smaller companies that specialise in retro fit.

Although some people are up in arms about the cuts, the industry will still remain to be very heavily subsidised.   For the majority of homeowners (those in the retro fit category) they can still achieve returns of around 5% per year tax free. This is still far greater than many other opportunities that exist at present. Also this return on investment will increase as energy bills for fossil fuels continue to soar in the next 25 years. So this means there will still be a market for retro fit solar PV installations which is the main stay of your average installer.

One area that will be affected negatively will be the market for free solar panels where companies fit the panels and then claim the FIT whilst home owners get free electricity. This will hit some larger companies in particular.

However the decline in free solar may also push more customers into funding their own installations meaning greater demand for smaller installations.

Long Term Impact

These changes actually mean that the solar industry will see continued and sustainable growth. Industry experts have been calling for cuts to the tariff for some time to ensure that the industry is not overrun by large corporations simply looking to suck up the subsidies available.

By bringing the subsidies in line with the cost of installation the solar industry will be forced to operate in a more completive market bringing the cost of installation down further within the reach of more home owners. Some panels are now 70% cheaper than this time last year.

It also means that many of the companies that have simply sprung up to feed off the tariffs may fall by the way side leaving those serious about green energy to continue providing green solutions to people who are also passionate about more than just their bank balance.

Regardless of the cuts it is clear that the solar industry will continue to grow as the cost of fossil fuels increases and the cost of installation will continue to drop. The recent cuts merely rebalance returns for consumers in line with their investment and at the new levels this will still run at around 5%. This is based on the current cost of installation and current cost of energy. Of course energy prices are going up at an unbelievable rate which only ever makes the figures work better. However with improved efficiency in panels, more skilled labour in the market and lower costs for technology the ROI on a solar PV will continue to increase.

So in conclusion, don’t panic, think about PV business as a sensible growth opportunity and not a fast buck deal, price sensibly, install properly and it will serve you well.

If you are looking at electrician training solar PV will still remain a key part of an electrician’s skills set. In fact it has been built in as standard to the new City & Guilds 2357 and EAL electrician courses

Solar PV courses are also still a great addition to a domestic installer’s skillset and a worthwhile investment of time and money.


Categories: decc, government, solar pv, feed-in-tariff