After fending off competition from almost 200 keen applicants, Sharp Solar’s installer competition winner has now completed his training. Walking away as a competent solar photovoltaics installer, Matthew Hawkins of Pembrokeshire, Wales now plans to complete his Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation in order to begin bringing solar power to UK homes.

By winning the competition, launched back in February this year, Hawkins secured himself a place on Sharp’s five-day Solar Photovoltaic Installation Training Programme at the company’s Wrexham training facility.

“I was delighted when I heard I’d won a place on the course. I’m a plumber by trade but solar installation is a lucrative space to move into and taking part in this course is a huge step to getting there. Sharp is a hugely respected solar brand in the UK and the techniques and knowledge gained on the course will give me a significant leg-up into the industry,” he said.

Andrew Lee, Head of International Sales at Sharp Solar said, “We congratulate Matthew on completing the course and wish him well for his future career in solar. The solar industry is an ideal growth territory for tradespeople looking to learn new skills but help drive the UKs green economy. The Solar Photovoltaic Installation Training Programme will give Matthew, and the others that use it, the skills necessary to be competitive in an industry we hope will be a cornerstone of our economy for years to come.”

The Sharp Renewable Energy Academy launched in February 2011 to meet demand for the 180,000 UK solar installations expected by 2015. Sharp research revealed that 87% of homeowners will only trust an accredited solar installer, which presents an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of expected growth in this sector.