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The Video is Live!

Hi All

After some resolving some technical issues (and still having others!)  I have managed to put together a cut of the video documenting some of the trainee’s experiences in regards to Solarteur and the training in Germany.  Enjoy!

Updated Introduction

Hello, and welcome to the blog!

As part of a commitment to enhance British standards in renewable energy training, ECOTEC awarded Embrace Cooperation LTD with one of the European Commission’s flagship ‘Transfer of Innovation’ projects. The Renewable Energy (RE) Specialist Project aims to equip VET teacher trainers, craft professionals, installers and students with the skills to teach, train and carry out skilled work within the renewable energy sector, and offer a platform to explore regional and national differences in vocational education and training with the sector. By utilizing the well established ‘Solarteur’ training package, the project  will ultimately train, test, qualify and accredit these individuals to the highest standards, and assist them in gaining a uniquely enhanced understanding of the renewable energy sector.

In April 2010, a number of trainers, teachers, and experienced installers were  guided through course materials by expert trainers and industry specialists.  Our first wave of candidates were specifically chosen to help develop the course materials, because of their expert knowledge and practical experience of renewables within the UK marketplace.

The content of this blog is a collection of feedback from each of the candidates as well as pictures and some video from the training sessions themselves.  The second wave of training will take place later in 2010.

Evening all.  Here are some more images of the gang throughout the three week course.  Enjoy!

With the end of this wave of training, a few photos documenting the weeks two and three can be seen in the gallery below

Coming soon – Video Blogs from some of the candidates, and general feedback regarding their experiences in Germany following the end of the course.  See you soon!

Friday 23rd April 2010

Today is our last day. We have made many friends over the past three weeks and the local people have been unbelievable with their hospitality and friendship. The Institute staff have been outstanding with the information and training we have received and we are only too willing to continue to work towards a common goal, which will be a Solarteur training system which is acceptable across the whole of the EU states. We have agreed to continue working together, and intend to meet this summer in the UK to move the Solarteur training program forward. Our final excursion was to a 41mwp (soon to be a 53mwp) solar power station in Finsterwalde/Brandenburg. The UK should look at this it is the next step forward. We have a lot to learn from our German colleague’s, and my thanks to all.  Watch this space! (GA)

Thursday 22nd April 2010

Today is the last day of training for me. We looked at Biomass and wood fuels with Mr Bernd Wagner a representative from Windhager. We started by looking at the different types of wood burning appliances they have now and in the past, and how the older wood burning appliances are now being replaced due to the particle content of flue gas. Germany installed over 100,000 wood and biomass appliances last year and produced over 550,000 tons of wood pellet from sustainable wood land. In the UK we still have a lot to learn from German technology and environmental issues. The cynical side of me expects the next thing to hit England will be a carbon tax on the type of fuel you use to heat your home.  Especially as all the government in Germany has to do is rubber stamp the documents and then it will be law.  The motley crew took advantage of another practical session, stripping down a boiler down to component parts before being put back together again.

Tomorrow will be a day of evaluation, before the drive back to the UK. No ash problems for me (GA)!

Wednesday 21st April 2010

It’s snowing here!  Global warming?  Yeah right!  The focus today was Solar PV with Miss Sylvia, starting with how to get maximum panel coverage on a roof the importance of sizing the panels to the inverter. After calculations and more calculations we then had to calculate the inverter size looking at low temperature and high temperature to see if the inverter would be compatible with the panel array.  Despite the brain ache, well done to Miss Sylvia and a great lesson. The icing on the cake was the motley crew running riot on the roof with photos to prove. Don’t let them loose on your roof!  Tomorrow’s lesson is Biomass with Mr Wagner (GA).

Yesterday we had lessons with Dr. Doelling. Introduced us to the Christiani Kit and provided an overview of the Solateur training.  Everyone was happy with the material he provided, and even happier that he did everything in English. I spent some time trying to sort out the traveling back because of the Icelandic Volcano, which wasn’t especially fun!  Today we did again extra hours with Miss Radisch-Siebert. We installed our first Solar PV panels, with George and Myself on the roof whilst the rest explained the procedure.  The local newspaper of today showed a nice group picture of us, and even Shaun is now known in Germany! (MK)

Some people shouldn’t be allowed in places like this!  See you tomorrow!  (SF)

Tuesday 20th April 2010

Dr. Matthias Delling took time to talk us through the Solarteur program and how the system can be implemented. We started with an outline of the following areas –

  • Introduction
  • Heat Technology
  • Energy Technology
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Solar Heat Systems
  • Heat Pumps
  • Photovoltaic Systems

Each area has an examination of 45 to 90 minutes, with a final exam and a pass rate of 65% in all areas (except attendance, which has to be above 90%).  Then we moved onto the Christiani training rigs, which proved to be great pieces of equipment. With this kit, you can do all of the solar installation on a desktop rig, and understand the test procedure before attempting the real thing on the roof. This was a great day for information on the program and how as trainers, we could implement it. (GA)

Monday 19th April 2010

I’m back with the group and back to work. My weekend was brilliant, first my Dad should me our new Solar-power-station in Finsterwalde (41 MW/p on 103 ha, 189000 panels and 38 million kWh a year – it was just amazing!) Today we had lessons for heat pumps and then went to Plauen, to see a big Solar PV system (a laugh for me 320 kWp). (MA)

Today we worked on heat pump training with Master of engineering Mr john Onderka of Vaillant. He is a man of great knowledge, and appears keen to pass it on to us. We started with how to calculate bore hole depths, under ground grid sizes and the importance of under sizing the heat pump and keeping temperatures low. Then we were shown the new gas-condensing boiler with phase change material that scavenges heat from condensation (making it 118% efficient). Then onto commissioning heat pumps, and another bout of information overload. For the final part of the day we had been invited to look at a swimming pool complex with 320kwp PV system and gas fired CHP plant, the area of PV was immense. No wonder we have no PV in the UK; the Germans have it all! It certainly has been a hectic day and a long one. Tomorrow we start PV training! Phew! (GA)

Saturday 17th / Sunday 18th April 2010

Today is the last Saturday before the long drive home. I decided to take a look at wind turbines in the local area as I have been asked to put some input into wind energy training. Lengenfeld has several small-scale wind turbine farms of up to two turbines. it also has a local planning constraint on further small or large scale wind farms. Today was a wind free day and although the turbines near the hotel were not rotating but I managed to take a photo from a distance of 100m as it has been erected on farmland. I also managed to find examples of other turbines.

On Sunday, the group started work on an outline for a renewable training proposal.  We will be able to see how it stands alongside the Solarteur program when we finally see it on Tuesday. We had been invited to view the local museum by the hotel manager. As with all the local people we have met they have been only too willing to help and advise us on local history and culture.  Tomorrow we commence heat pump training with Vaillant (GA).