Government minister Greg Barker chose his visit to Devizes company Grant Engineering to make an announcement that will affect anyone looking to embrace green energy alternatives and cut their fuel bills.
Mr Barker, the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, visited Grant UK at its headquarters on Hopton industrial estate in Devizes on Tuesday, his train only slightly held up by the latest winter storm.
He was accompanied by Devizes MP Claire Perry and met executives of Grant UK, including managing director Paul Wakefield.
Mr Barker announced a further government investment of £150,000 in training domestic heating engineers to enable them to install and maintain renewable heating systems, on top of £500,000 already pledged.
He was shown round the training centre, where engineers are trained to install the company’s oil-fired boilers, solar panels and air source heat pumps, and saw the company’s prototype of its new Vecta biomass condensing boiler.
This is designed to be installed in homes, rather than in commercial premises and stately homes as previously.
Biomass consists of pellets of sustainably produced wood that burn in efficient, electronically controlled furnaces to heat water and radiators at half the cost of fuel oil.
Mr Barker said: “These devices are only as good as the professionals who install them. Unless installers are properly trained, they won’t work at full efficiency and you will be left with a lot of unhappy customers.
“It is more important than ever to invest in proper training and the government is providing funding to support the private sector to train installers.”
Grant UK, which started out in Ireland, has been operating in Devizes for 17 years. Beginning as the manufacturer of oil-fired boilers, it moved into sustainable technology nine years ago and now an increasing amount of its business is in sustainables such as biomass.
The company, which has a turnover of £40million a year, employs 61 people. Five of these are trainers who teach engineers how to install their equipment. Most of these classes take place in Devizes but there are outreach classes in Yorkshire, Lanarkshire and Cambridgeshire.
Mrs Perry said she was delighted that the company had agreed to help the community-run Sunflowers children’s nursery at Grafton by donating a Grant Spira wood pellet condensing boiler.