Solar company calls on MP to highlight ‘wrong’ energy policy.

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Douglas with AES Solar managing director George Goudsmit during the visit to the Forres-based business.
Douglas with AES Solar managing director George Goudsmit during the visit to the Forres-based business.

A Forres renewables company has called on its local MP to put pressure on the Government to rethink its policies relating to the Feed-in Tariff, which pays consumers for excess electricity exported to the National Grid.

AES Solar managing director George Goudsmit recently met with conservative MP Douglas Ross and accused the conservative party of damaging the solar industry.

The MP visited AES Solar’s head office and manufacturing facility in Forres following news that the company had been involved with the building of the UK’s House of the Year, an annual contest televised and broadcast on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

George said:

“We appreciate the interest Douglas has shown in AES Solar and the solar industry, however, the current Conservative UK Government appear intent on decimating the solar industry through the removal of the export tariff.”

The Feed-in Tariff exists so those who invest in solar energy can get a fair price for the surplus energy they send back to the grid. The UK Government has steadily reduced the paybacks from solar since it has been in power, and in March 2019 it will be removed completely. 

This means that excess electricity that consumers produce with their solar panels will go back into the National Grid with no benefit to the consumer, and where multinational energy companies will be able to sell it at as part of their normal tariff.

However AES Solar are keen to point out that domestic and commercial customers still benefit from installing solar panels and battery systems as the cost of installation has decreased while the cost and demand for electricity continues to rise.

George Goudsmit shows Douglass Ross, the internal working of solar power
George Goudsmit shows Douglass Ross, the internal workings of a solar PV system.

MP Douglas Ross said: “Solar panels are increasingly being installed by community halls, churches, schools, public buildings as well as homes across Moray and provide a source of clean, renewable energy, and I was pleased to hear how a business based in Forres is contributing to this.

“I had a very positive meeting with George Goudsmit, AES Solar’s managing director. They have been in the press recently with the involvement in award-winning designs and it is great that we have such an impressive local business with a superb reputation here in Moray.

“I am keen to work with them and the industry as we debate changes to solar energy in Westminster. The meeting provided me with a greater understanding of what we need to do to promote this type of energy source to an even greater audience.”

Energy Minister Claire Perry recently commented in the House of Commons that ‘it would be wrong to have power provided to the grid for free’. However, the plan to remove the export tariff remains with no alternative proposed, and the MP has written to Ms Perry to share his concerns.

George added: “It is important that we have a supporter in Douglas who can directly pursue the issue. The whole industry requires urgent clarity from Westminster.

“Solar PV and thermal installations have reduced hugely in cost and the requirement for financial incentives has reduced, but the point remains that it is clearly wrong for our customers to provide energy for free which is then sold on for profit.

“Solar power is crucially important as we seek to achieve climate change targets. It is important for Scotland, the world and future generations that we start to reverse the damage done to the planet and produce clean renewable energy at all levels.

“Whilst we continue to work with the Solar Trade Association Scotland to lobby better policies in Scotland, the Scottish Government have introduced building regulations that require renewable energy and interest free loans for Solar PV, thermal and battery storage to the envy of the rest of the UK.”

AES Solar is Scotland’s only manufacturer of thermal panels and now the longest established solar company in Europe, entering their 40th year in business. The company specialises in solar PV, solar thermal, battery storage and EV chargers.