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[ Spotlight: Insurance ]


Currently the only scheme that meets this criteria is REAL Assurance (www.realassurance.org.uk). There are several certification bodies offering the MCS


scheme, but ECA Certification (trading as ELECSA) was the first certification body accredited to offer all six renewable energy technologies: micro CHP (combined heat and power), wind turbines, solar thermal, biomass, heat pumps and solar photovoltaic (PV). ELECSA has already built up an enviable reputation in


the industry for its Part P scheme, and is known for being down-to-earth and on the side of the contractor, since it is part of the ECA group. ELECSA Part P contractors benefit from a free, insurance-


backed warranty provision. This a requirement on all Part P scheme providers, and the facility provided via ECIC ensures that the contractor is not burdened with the additional responsibility of providing the warranty to their customers. Registered ECA members are also able to use the ECA guarantee for warranty purposes.


Opportunities Renewable energy installation is one of the few growth areas for electrical contractors in these recessionary times. It is only in the last two years that all the promise of home solar panels has finally become a reality in the UK, and there are several factors driving this trend. While the government phased out the grant systems


Many electrical contractors have begun accessing roof areas in a way they would never have expected at the beginning of their careers


supporting renewable installations, financial incentives such as the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) have dramatically increased the demand for PV installations. FITs is a system of payment for all energy generated, with additional funds paid for any surplus energy put back into the grid. Later this year, a similar payment system for heat generation, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), will be introduced, which will support solar thermal and heat pump technologies. In addition to financial incentives, recessionary factors


and the price increases on energy and fuel supplies improve prospects for microgeneration installation, as it is seen as a cost saving investment for homes and businesses. It has been said that since electrical contractors usually go


into big projects last, they also feel the pain of the recession last. It is understandable, therefore, that so many have been migrating into the renewables area recently.


Risks and dangers Working at height to install solar panels is, of course, a particular risk in renewable energy projects. Around 50 per cent of all fatalities in the construction


industry arise from falls from height. The principal risks involved in working at height are falls from unguarded roof edges or falls through fragile materials such as roof lights, asbestos cement or old and worn-out roofing. Fall injuries tend to be ‘low-frequency and high-severity’


September 2011 ECA Today 65


SHUTTERSTOCK


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