Do you know that feeling of Daja-vu, it was very much one of those mornings and I don’t mean being back at Pscherer Institute! No one missed breakfast but, one member was conspicuous by their absence when we arrived at Pscherer Institute! There would be no lack of richness or professionalism in the delivery of today’s topic. The presenter for the day would be, Dr. Matthias Delling and Herr Stefan Breymann. During this week, we have become used to having our presenters enthusiastic and filled with passion about Solarteur and today would be no different. The first topic was covered by Dr. Delling, who started with an overview of the Solar Power School.
The Solarteur (Solar Installateur) training was set up by solar pioneer Werner Rauscher whose educational principle is – ‘Hands on Learning’. Subjects taught include; Solar thermal power technologies, Photovoltaic, Wind power Heat pumps and Biomass. The courses are offered either entirely at the institute or a blend of ‘distance’ and institute based learning. More than 3,000 Solarteurs have been trained. There are 21 schools; 12 in Germany, 1 in Nova Scotia and 8 across Europe.
In the true spirit of ‘Hands on Learning’ after providing an overview, Dr Delling moved us to the Electrical Laboratory. We were shown a range of Teaching and Learning resources used in the training of trainee Electrical Solarteurs. Most of these resources were by IKS Photovoltaik who produces specialist Teaching resources which help to support the understanding of Photovoltaic (PV) technology. This was followed by a quick stop in the ‘Valiant’ workshop before ending up in the Solar laboratory just across the corridor from the electrical Laboratory and the Valiant room. The Solar workshop was filled with an assortment of; Solar thermal and PV panel, Wood (Pellet) burning boiler, Ground source heat pumps, CHPs and ancillary equipment to support all the technologies in the room.
A very quick break then, Herr Breymann – Head of Technical and National Project at the Pscherer Institute. The topic – ‘Renewable Resources in Building Construction’ Herr Breymann's presentation would be an overview of the materials available in the Building and Automotive industry, sources from renewable sources. Herr Breymann started by pointing out that the largest energy demand (73%) is required to heat the builds. This was followed by a breakdown in percentages, of heat the heat loss through the various building fabric. The need to improve the thermal performance of our buildings by using more thermally efficient material was clearly. If this material is then obtained from renewable sources, reductions in our carbon footprint and less reliance on fossil fuels would be achieved. Herr Breymann went on to list an assortment of materials from a renewable source; the new one for me was starch – used as a replacement for plastic. Examples of ‘disposable’ cups, dishes and cutlery were available for us to see. In the automotive industry, car parts are being produced of renewable sourced materials. Moulding, shelving and wheel covers are some examples of car parts being produced. Moving into the workshop we then had an opportunity to see how these materials are being use and their aesthetic impact. Material seen included, Hemp, flaks, cork, wood fibre shaving, corn wool cellulose. These were used to make thermal insulation, building blocks, and roof tiles just to name a few
With the end of the morning session, lunch was served and a healthy offering was had by all!
The afternoon session brought opportunities to discuss the way forward. This was chaired by Herr Werner Rauscher. The floor was open and Gerard led the way, suggesting that there was a need to consider the installation of a combined system rather than a single system. This would also include the implementation of improved building performance as well as energy sourcing.
Outcomes of this RAISE Best Practice Project included:
- 8 different companies from the Renewable Energy field in the UK got to know and met counterparts and professionals working in the sector in Germany
- Theoretical and practical expertise and knowledge exchange between looking at 2 EU countries and how they have implemented their strategies to achieve their 2020 committments of sourcing 20% of their energy needs from Renewable sources
- Establishing relationships between different types of industry, further education and training, and Third Sector on a European level
- Joint project development and if feasible also business planning to establish a training centre in the UK using the SOLARTEUR model
- Further cooperation within the Leonardo da Vinci programmes to exchange professionals and students in initial vocational training
Suggested improvements for future projects like this could be:
- Provision made for those with limited knowledge to gain some basic understanding either at the beginning or prior to arriving for the program, or recruiting participants with similar levels of understanding of a subject area (i.e. Solar installers)
- To provide examples of course content of the Solarteur courses (again, if people come from a specific and course relevant vocational background such as heating and plumbing). This could be used as the mechanism to assess, compare, and identify Best Practice qith future projects
A suggestion was made to set up a strategy group to look at how UK market would:
- Build the momentum necessary to catch up with Germany and other world leaders within RE's
- Provide education so that the market can make better informed choices based on
i)‘Which system is best for me?’
ii) Comparisons of environmental and financial impact of different system
- Recognise that progresses involves
i) Reducing Carbon Dioxide in the first place
ii) Move towards being Carbon Neutrality
iii) Aim for Carbon reversal
At the close of the discussion forum our lovely Stephaney presented our host Herr Pscherer with a little gift to show our appreciation for a wonderful packed week.
All that was left now was for Timo to issue certificates to attendees. This brought with it the realisation that it was the end of a very positive and worthwhile week which was organised and delivered by the very capable staff and associates of Pscherer Bildungsinstitut in Lengenfeld in cooperation with Embrace Cooperation.
Thank you for a most enjoyable and informative week