Energy Saving Trust held two workshops with the energy efficiency and microgeneration industry in May/June 2016 to identify what the key barriers are facing these industries in Scotland. Attendees included installers, manufacturers, assessors, consultants, trade bodies, local authorities and representatives from the Scottish Government. Key topics discussed included:
- Skills and training.
- Certifications and consumer protection.
- Funding and procurement.
- Building standards and planning.
From feedback given at the workshops we have highlighted the key barriers facing the industry along with recommendations for overcoming them.
Key findings – energy efficiency workshop
The energy efficiency workshop identified 22 barriers. These include:
- Issues relating to awareness, cost and support available for modern apprenticeships.
- The industry is not attractive enough to young people.
- More enforcement and policing of energy efficiency measures is needed in Scotland.
- Communications should be improved in relation to the schemes to help improve awareness.
- There are consistency issues in terms of the level of service and requirements across local authorities.
Key recommendations – energy efficiency workshop
The energy efficiency workshop identified 16 recommendations for overcoming these barriers. These include:
- Increase awareness of funding and support available for modern apprenticeships.
- Consider setting up a government-industry contact group.
- Increase the amount of audits and inspections for government funded installations.
- Consider new approaches for promoting energy efficiency schemes.
- Increase awareness of the building standards dispute resolution process amongst suppliers.
Key findings – microgeneration workshop
The microgeneration workshop identified 10 barriers facing the industry. These include:
- The inaccuracy of some performance estimates given to householders by installers is an issue for the industry. This is particularly true for heat pumps and biomass.
- There is a lack of awareness among householders in relation to renewables and the associated benefits.
- Home Energy Scotland renewables loans are not high enough (in terms of percentage contributions) and solar PV maximum value is not high enough.
- There is a lack of MCS enforcement ‘on the ground’.
- MCS Quality Management Systems (QMS) requirements are regarded by some as too onerous for micro-sized companies.
Key recommendations – microgeneration workshop
The microgeneration workshop identified 10 recommendations for overcoming these barriers. These include:
- MCS to provide a standardised approach/template for installers to ensure householders are given consistent information.
- Energy Saving Trust to discuss with the Scottish Government further ways in which to promote the benefits of installing renewables to householders.
- Energy Saving Trust to review the loan scheme support levels with Scottish Government.
- MCS should audit installers more while ensuring greater enforcement of the scheme. MCS should also publish a timetable outlining the steps it is taking to address this (for example when it plans to appoint an independent company to carry out audits and verification).
- MCS should review and adapt if necessary QMS requirements to make it more relevant to micro-sized businesses.
Energy Saving Trust has provided the Scottish Government with copies of these final reports which will be used to help inform the development of key policy areas including the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy and the development of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP).
Energy Saving Trust will work closely with the Scottish Government to develop an action plan outlining what is required to help overcome the barriers identified in these reports.