Sunday Times says 60,000 heating engineers are interested in fitting renewable energy devices but are put off by the three-year certification process

The revolution to green the UK’s homes is being held back by a lack of qualified engineers who can fit renewable energy devices.

According to a report in the Sunday Times there are only 500 certified installers of renewable energy equipment such as photovoltaics, compared with around 120,000 registered gas engineers under the Gas Safe scheme.

Next month sees the start of the government scheme where households will be able to collect a fixed fee of up to 41p a kilowatt hour for electricity they generate from roof-mounted solar panels and sell on to the grid. Similar fees are available for other technologies including micro wind turbines.

However, Worcester Bosch which controls 28% of Britain’s boiler market and supplies solar panels and air and ground-source heat pumps says that the scheme is being hobbled by a chronic shortage of certified engineers who must fit the equipment for consumers to qualify for the payments.

The report said the cost and difficulty of registering for the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), a three-year-old programme designed to prevent cowboy salesmen, was a huge disincentive for qualified gas engineers interested in entering the market for household renewable energy devices, which includes biomass boilers.

Worcester Bosch, which runs Britain’s largest gas engineer training scheme, estimates that more than 60,000 registered central heating engineers have expressed an interest in learning to fit renewable energy equipment, but hardly any of these go on to gain the MCS certificate.