Twenty-five year-old Gabriella Clack works as Operations Manager for the family business, Alderminster; a building services installation company based in Shipston on Stour near Stratford on Avon.
The company covers electrics and heating, including renewables. Gabriella has recently trained in the installation of battery storage units at GTEC’s approved centre, Telford College.
Alderminster, originally set up by Gabriella’s father Paul Clack, 35 years ago, was initially focussed on electrical contracting. The business has expanded over the years to include gas, LPG, oil central heating and since 2012, renewables, such as solar photovoltaics (pv), heat pumps and electric vehicle charging. The company prides itself on being a family firm, serving homeowners, businesses and charities throughout the Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
Gabriella, a qualified electrician, has noticed over the last six months a significant growth the number of customers enquiring about battery storage. She explains:
“A growing number of our customers have Solar PV panels and with the cost of electricity soaring and the fact that householders no longer benefit from the Feed-in Tariffs, many understand that it makes sense to store the energy produced during the day, for the evenings when their energy needs peak.”
Gabriella attended Telford College to take GTEC’s two-day course in the installation of battery storage units so that she can be better informed as to the benefits of battery storage – and undertake as well as oversee battery installations by her colleagues.
Telford College has recently opened a specialist centre dedicated to the installation of battery storage units. The centre is delivering LCL Awards accredited level 3 qualification, in conjunction with GTEC and the Telford-based specialist battery supplier and manufacturer AceOn Group. The college’s forward-looking enterprise has been designed to up-skill local electricians, engineers and technicians in a technology that will support the roll-out of renewable across the country. Gabriella continued:
“The course at Telford was great. We spent a day and a half, learning about the technology and practicing on equipment from different manufacturers. On the second afternoon, we were assessed, so in just two days I was able to come away with a better understanding of how batteries work, the relevant codes of practice, and a certified qualification that I can use to develop the business.
“Graham Kenyon, our tutor, was involved in writing the course and so he’s extremely knowledgeable. He had a great way of getting the main points across and it was really beneficial to be able to put our learning to the test on a range of different appliances. When it comes to the panels and batteries, some manufacturers produce the whole system, others don’t, so it’s useful to see how you can mix and match different bits of kit from different manufacturers and in different scenarios.”
The Level 3 battery storage training course covers the installation of dedicated Electrical Energy Storage Systems (EESS) in accordance with the relevant IET Code of Practice and is recognised the by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
Gabriella is excited about the future:
“Alderminster has fifteen employees and my sister Antonia and I plan to carry the business forward when our dad retires. There’s been a significant uptake in air source heat pumps and Solar PV recently and we’re keen to train our staff to make the most of the demand for renewables.
“We usually have a couple of apprentices on board and they’re keen to learn, but so are our more experienced heating engineers; it’s the way to go to future-proof the business. Recent improvements in battery units make storage a much more viable option for everyone. If your house or business premises is producing more energy than you need, it makes sense to store if for later – it’s really a no-brainer!”
GTEC’s battery storage course, delivered from Telford College and GTEC’s head office in Hawes, North Yorkshire.