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SEUK chair and vice-chair re-elected

Solar Energy UK

10 June 2024

The board of Solar Energy UK has re-appointed Matt Black as chair. Matt is Managing Director of Innovo Renewables and leads its UK business.

Christelle Barnes, UK Country Manager at SolarEdge Technologies, will also continue as vice-chair, with both appointed for a further three-year term.

Their previous term of office, starting in January 2021, saw Solar Energy UK expand to over 400 members, double the membership of three years ago, with revenue now standing around five times what it was in 2021.[1] Staffing has doubled over the past two years, allowing us to expand our services to the industry.

Over Matt and Christelle’s tenure, Solar Energy UK completed a rebrand (from the Solar Trade Association), launched the Solar Stewardship Initiative with Solar Power Europe, devised biodiversity initiatives including the first two Solar Habitat reports launched and the NSIP Forum created for the largest-scale developers. More broadly, solar energy has become a more mainstream aspect of the energy sector, as evidenced by the engagement of companies such as EDF, SSE and RWE with SEUK and their commitment as sponsor members.

Meanwhile, solar generation capacity has expanded dramatically in recent years, rising by more than 4 gigawatts since the end of 2020 to well over 18GW now – well on the way to meeting the government target of 70GW by 2035.[] Large-scale solar farms are now being rolled-out, while the domestic market reached a near-record number of installations last year.

Looking forward, we expect the UK to further embrace solar energy, turbocharge the power grid for net zero, build skills for green jobs and implement a renewables-first approach to market reform. These demands were spelled out earlier this week in Solar Energy UK’s Solar and Energy Storage Manifesto.[3]

“It is an honour to be re-elected at this critical time for the industry. The huge amount that has been achieved by the organisation over the past three years is a testament to the stellar work of the executive team and the collaborative spirit and growing maturity of the industry,” said Matt.

“It’s clear that the coming years will be critical in the energy transition and the future of the country’s decarbonisation, with solar and storage – alongside wind – as delivering the backbone of the future energy system. The coming general election provides an opportunity for the incoming Government to take this on board, and with interventions laid out in SEUK’s Solar and Storage Manifesto, enable an acceleration in solar and storage deployment to deliver cleaner, cheaper energy for all,” he added.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to be re-elected as Vice Chair of Solar Energy UK for a further three years. In the short term, we are working to achieve a solar and storage target to be set by the next parliament, following which, together with Matt and the executive team, I look forward to continuing to embrace UK solar and bring the benefits to solar and storage to more UK homes and businesses. We will continue to focus on removing the barriers and obstacles that the industry faces, such as network access, skills shortage and implementing a renewables-first focus to market reform,” said Christelle.

Major policy wins over their previous term include:

  • Establishing the government-industry Solar Taskforce.[4] The Solar Roadmap it has developed is now anticipated for release after the general election, potentially with further amendments.
  • Defeating Liz Truss’ plans for a de-facto ban on solar farms.[5]
  • Removing VAT on new solar panels and battery energy storage systems fitted to residential properties from April 2022.[6] This was later extended to battery systems retrofitted to existing installations, following pressure from Solar Energy UK.[7]
  • Expenditure on solar and battery technologies being deducted from profits before the payment of Corporation Tax, known as full expensing.[8]
  • Ensuring that the government takes the economic consequences of long delays to grid connections seriously, with the implementation of the Winser Review.[9]
  • Extending permitted development rights across the UK.[10] In England, only listed buildings and those in conservation areas now require planning permission for installing rooftop solar. The government announced plans to ease this bureaucratic burden in January.[11]

[1] Solar Energy UK hits 400-member milestone

[2] UK on track to add 1.7 GWp-dc of solar PV in 2023

[3] Solar and energy storage industry sets out electoral demands

[4] Solar Taskforce – Update on Progress

[5] ‘A turning point’: Government ends solar farm uncertainty  

[6] VAT on Solar and Battery Storage

[7] VAT on home battery systems cut to zero

[8] Autumn Statement a ‘shot in the arm’ for solar

[9] Solar sector backs plan to overhaul management of the power grid

[10] Solar Energy UK welcomes loosening of planning rules

[11] Plan to ease solar installations on historic homes welcomed

– ENDS –

Editor’s notes:

Innovo Renewables is a fully integrated renewable energy platform with offices in Milan, London and Madrid, investing in the development of 9GW renewable generation capacity across Europe.

SolarEdge is a global leader in smart energy technology. By deploying world-class engineering capabilities and with a relentless focus on innovation, SolarEdge create award-winning products and solutions that power homes, businesses and transportation while driving future progress.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Gareth Simkins, Senior Communications Adviser

gsimkins@solarenergyuk.org

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