Expansion on the cards for Moray solar panel manufacturer
Scotland’s only manufacturer of solar thermal panels has said it has no doubt that its business will expand after it was announced that the government has dropped plans to remove solar thermal from the Renewable Heat Incentive.
AES Solar based in Forres welcomed the news following a campaign by the Solar Trade Association.
George Goudsmit, director of AES Solar, which is the longest running solar thermal manufacturer in Western Europe and has been operation since 1979 explained what this meant for the industry: “This is fantastic news and the Solar Trade Association and all those who have been campaigning since it was announced in March that there would be a consultation in to whether the RHI should be axed should be celebrating.
“The renewable industry, particularly solar has taken some knocks over the last year, but this announcement can only mean good things.”
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK government scheme which offers financial incentives for those who take up the use of renewable technologies.
The domestic RHI was launched in 2014 and provides financial support to the owner of the renewable heating system for seven years, however in March it came under scrutiny and the fear was the incentives would be axed altogether.
George who employs 10 people including three modern apprentices said that for his firm this is good news: “This will no doubt lead to a demand in solar thermal, not just from domestic customers but also from other installers who use our products. This can only mean expansion for us in terms of staff and potentially our premises too.
“For our customers, it means that solar thermal is now on a level playing field with other renewable options. Consumers can now have the confidence to invest in solar thermal. Saving them money and energy in the long run and reducing their carbon footprint. An average four person home could reduce their energy bill by at least 10 per cent.”
George added: “The possible removal of the RHI has been looming over us for the last nine months, but now we, as the only manufacturer of solar thermal panels in Scotland, can breathe a sigh of relief. We feared it was going to be removed completely which meant it would have been a harder sell and would have made it very difficult for the Scottish government to reach its 2020 targets.
“We don’t know why the government has decided to save the RHI, the campaigning has certainly helped, but we also believe that maybe as the Scottish government are putting so much emphasis on electric vehicles and renewable heat whether Westminster felt under pressure.”
Paul Barwell, STA chief executive, said: “Solar thermal is back, which is great news for businesses and families who want to bring down their energy bills and do their bit to mitigate climate change. It is to the new Energy Department’s credit that they listened to the very strong arguments we made for retaining solar thermal within the RHI.”