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74. Evaluating the development of the solar skills pipeline in London

Kada Research was commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to evaluate the design, delivery, and impact of Solar Skills London. The Programme aims to develop the solar skills supply chain across the city which is vital for the city to achieve its net zero goals by 2030. The objective of the study was to assess Solar Skills London and consider the viability of such interventions in the future.

A Mayor of London funded initiative, Solar Skills London was launched in 2021 and delivered over two phases. In the first phase the GLA partnered with Solar Energy UK to design and deliver introductory workshops for potential solar industry trainees, launch online solar training and careers hub and a grants scheme to help businesses upskill existing employees. The workshops included a two-week introductory course followed by a six-week course which led to an opportunity to become an apprentice.

The second phase sought to increase the number of certified solar installers in London through a partnership with the Microgeneration Certification Service (MCS). Existing businesses were offered grants to help them become MCS certified and helped organisations navigate the process of becoming certified.

The process involved a range of research methods, including desk research, stakeholder consultations, an online survey with businesses who had received support, an online survey with learners from the workshops, and economic and environmental impact assessments for both phases of the programme.

All the quantitative and qualitative evidence enabled the team to produce a robust analysis of Solar Skills London’s performance, successes, and challenges. Kada worked closely with the client through the research process including co-designing the research tools and presenting and testing emerging findings and recommendations.

The economic analysis undertaken by Kada found that there would be a predicted £12.2m economic impact (net present value) over the next decade because of Solar Skills London. Additionally, 12,340 tonnes of carbon savings are predicted and a £6.9m (net present value) in energy savings for London residents is also predicted over the next ten years.

There was a high level of demand for the workshops and improvements within the delivery model, business engagement, and an iterative approach to curriculum development would unlock a significant number of solar installation employment opportunities.

“Solar Skills London highlighted the growing importance of supply side measures to support decarbonisation and unlock economic opportunities. The high level of learner interest for the workshops demonstrated the demand for green upskilling and reskilling, and the Solar Skills London model shows how solar skills training can be designed and delivered effectively. Continued support is required to develop the solar skills supply chain if we are to decarbonise at the scale and pace needed to meet net zero goals.”

Sophie Negus, Study Director.

If you are thinking about commissioning an evaluation or research into green skills or if you would like to talk through an idea or hear about this work you can contact us at sophie@kadaresearch.co.uk.