Brussels, 9 May 2023 – The Solar Heating and Cooling sector welcomes today’s official launch of the European Year of Skills 2023 by the European Commission. This milestone emphasizes the need for joint action at EU, national, and local level to attract and foster the skills needed to achieve EU’s climate and renewable energy targets. Actively engaged in the Large Scale Partnership on renewables, our sector is fully prepared to work constructively together with policymakers and partners to ensure sufficient skilled workforce for a swift energy transition.
Skills: one of the pillars of the green transition
Ensuring a sufficient and qualified workforce constitutes one of the main challenges for the energy transition and the deployment of renewable energy sources. Urgent and joint action is needed to prevent the gap observed in some regions from growing further, focusing on upskilling, reskilling, and increasing the attractiveness of jobs related to the green transition and renewables. Even so, to meet the EU renewable targets, it will be particularly important to adopt a cross-technology approach, where modular training forge experts and technicians that can work on multiple renewable technologies.
The Solar Thermal value chain: committed to upskill and reskill
Solar Heat Europe, representing the full value chain of the solar thermal sector in Europe, is fully committed to contribute and voice the needs of its industry vis-à-vis policymakers and relevant stakeholders.
As a participant of the recently launched Large-Scale Partnership on Renewables under the Pact for Skills, Solar Heat Europe will collaborate closely with the European Commission and partners from the renewable energy sector and beyond. Together, we will assess skills needs, elaborate training programmes and pathways that are fit for purpose, and demand effective policy actions. Solar Heat Europe is determined to actively engage in this important milestone and play a key role in building a skilled workforce for a decarbonised future. “Solar thermal stands at the crossroads between roofing, hydraulics, and heating technologies. We are advocating to work on a multi-technology approach which will help deliver enough skilled professionals for the green transition’’ stated Costas Travasaros, President of Solar Heat Europe. He added: “Only by harnessing the synergies across the different renewable technologies, can we ensure the availability of sufficient qualified personnel to meet EU’s climate goals in a timely and efficient manner”.
A cross-sectoral effort: installers, energy experts, design studies, local authorities
There is a broad range of jobs needed for the green transition and support the growth of renewables. On the one hand, there is a need for technical profiles, such as installers and maintenance experts. On the other hand, deploying more renewable heating and cooling will depend greatly on the availability of qualified professionals within local authorities and design studies, working on topics such as energy, urban planning, and permitting.
Oliver Jung, Secretary General of GCP Europe and one of the co-coordinators of the Large-Scale Partnership on Renewables under the Pact for Skills added: “The technologies are already available; the market conditions are constantly improving. To achieve healthy and net-zero energy buildings, the missing pieces of the puzzle are enough sufficiently skilled workers. This European Year of Skills is a great opportunity to make everyone understand that this must be the priority for the years to come, also to partner up, and elaborate proposals that will need to be innovative. We will offer plenty of fora to get involved. So, please join the discussions!”
A very local landscape
The reality of the very varied and rich European landscape is very much to be considered for the topic of skills. This component will be key for the Commission and its partners to taken into account as the work of the Year of Skills progresses. Richard Loyen, Secretary General of ENERPLAN, the French member of Solar Heat Europe said: “The skills question is very much dependent on the national landscape and the way the markets are organized locally. In France, we are proud to have the Qualisol quality seal and we see a growth in demand for trainings recently; installers are offered the possibility to be trained on solar thermal but also PV, biomass, or heat pumps for example. For the large scale markets, we see a clear need for both awareness raising activities as well as training, for key intermediates such as design offices, engineering companies, but also district heating companies, industries and their energy experts advising on decarbonisation options.”
About Solar Heat Europe/ESTIF
Solar Heat Europe/ESTIF’s mission is to achieve the prioritisation and acceptance of solar heat as a key element for sustainable heating and cooling in Europe and to work for the implementation of all necessary steps to realise the high potential of solar heat. With members in more than 15 European countries, Solar Heat Europe members cover different parts of the value chain, being based in countries as diverse as Finland or Cyprus. Last year, Solar Heat Europe published Energising Europe with Solar Heat – A Solar Thermal Roadmap for Europe, comprising key information and data about the potential of the technology to accelerate the energy transition and boost the European economy.
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