Plans were yesterday unveiled for a new GBP£280,000 national training centre, designed to help tackle the emerging shortfall in skilled contractors capable of installing microgeneration technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The Green Energy Training Centre (GETC) on Merseyside is being funded by renewables manufacturer Stiebel Eltron, training provider Scientiam and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), and is intended to be the first in a wave of new national microgeneration training centres.

The new centre is expected to start training 60 people a month from July, teaching them to install onsite renewable energy technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and small scale wind turbines.

Construction work on the centre is to begin this month and the first students are expected from the summer. The centre is based at Stiebel's premises on Wirral International Business Park in Bromborough, Merseyside. In total the German firm will invest GBP£57,372, Scientiam will provide GBP£100,050 and the SFA will issue a GBP£122,275 grant through the Regional Skills Capital Development Fund.

The firms said that the exact course syllabus has yet to be decided, but insisted that the training will comply with the government-backed Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), providing graduates with the certification they need to install renewable energy systems that qualify for the UK's feed-in tariff incentive scheme.