New solar trade body launched in Scotland

The UK's Solar Trade Association launches "STA Scotland"

A number of leading members of the Solar Trade Association (STA), which speaks on behalf of the UK solar energy industry, have launched a new Scotland branch.

STA Scotland is set to become the leading voice for solar in Scotland, advising and developing policy with the Scottish Government and raising awareness of the benefits of solar. STA Scotland has been backed by a number of prominent figures in the energy industry, including Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism in the Scottish Government.

Commenting Mr. Ewing, Scottish Minister for Business Energy and Tourism said:

"The launch of STA Scotland provides a valuable asset for Scotland as we work towards meeting our 2020 renewable energy target. STA Scotland will undoubtedly contribute to the Scottish Government's target to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. Supporting solar energy is hugely important as it supports our economic strategy to work towards further social equality and the reduction in fuel poverty for the people of Scotland."

Scotland is already a strong advocate of solar with 35,000 homes and 600 businesses currently benefitting from solar technology. Scottish STA member, Forster Energy, was involved in the 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes' Village, which boasts over 700 homes that have solar energy systems installed, with residents enjoying reduced energy bills.

The Solar Trade Association estimates that there are 25,000 hectares of south-facing commercial rooftops in Scotland that could be put to use to generate clean, home-grown energy.

John Forster, Chairman of Forster Energy, has been appointed as the Chair of the new body. John has considerable experience in the construction and solar energy industries and Forster Energy, his solar business, has been leading best practice in Scotland. His vision is to create a stable and sustainable future for domestic and business energy consumers in Scotland, by advancing the availability of solar technologies.

John Forster, Chair of STA Scotland, said:

"I am thrilled to be leading STA Scotland. I currently sit on the STA UK Board and I am an active member of STA's New Build Working Group. Striving towards a more sustainable, green and energy efficient Scotland has been a passion of mine for a long time and I am delighted to be in a position to help make this happen.

"Scotland has been a great supporter of solar energy and the launch of STA Scotland is testament to this. I am proud to be working alongside the industry's finest, to deliver a future for Scotland that will be able to reap the benefits of solar energy."

The STA has already carried out a lot of work to promote solar in the UK, showing how solar could by 2030 produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 18 million homes and support almost 50,000 jobs across the British solar supply chain.

STA analysis has shown that solar panels in Glasgow generate over 90% of the energy the same number of panels would produce in London, showing how strong the case for solar is here in Scotland.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association, who was also present in Edinburgh for the first meeting of the body on Friday 20 March, said:

"I'm delighted to launch STA Scotland which has been set up to give our member companies north of the border the support and clout to drive the agenda forward for both solar PV and solar thermal hot water heating. This has been driven by our members over the last 18 months and I am delighted to say that the STA is now able to use its in-house policy, communications and analysis resources to support this new group."

Other companies present at the meeting were AES Solar, Lark Energy, Lightsource, McDonald Engineers, Solar Kingdom and Sunamp.

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