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On 31 January 2020, the UK formally left the European Union (EU). Following a transition period, the UK then left the EU’s single market and customs union on 31 December 2020.

Brexit means that the rules under which British companies and citizens interact with the EU (and EU companies and citizens interact with the UK) have changed. Businesses will need to adjust to the new rules, including those working in the solar industry.

Key areas where rules have changed include the following, with examples of how these may relate to the solar industry:

  • Imports and exports: where businesses are buying or selling items such as electronic equipment and solar system components from the EU, or buying or selling services, there may be additional documentation to complete and charges to pay. This could include, for example, new tariffs.
  • Data: the transfer of client, personal and other data may be affected. This could affect, for example, whether or not businesses are able to send and receive customer information such as names and addresses to and from companies based in the EU.
  • Hiring: freedom of movement between the EU and UK has ended. This means that British citizens no longer have the automatic right to work in EU member states, and vice versa.
  • Northern Ireland: there are additional specific issues related to Northern Ireland, which under the terms of the UK’s deal with the EU has remained in the EU’s single market for goods. This means that goods arriving in Northern Irish ports from Great Britain will be subject to checks and controls.

To help businesses understand the new rules, the Government has created a Brexit Checker. Solar companies can use the Brexit Checker to carry out an initial assessment of what changes they may need to take into consideration for their business.

What’s next?

As the UK adapts to its new relationship with the UK, different business risks and opportunities may arise. Solar Energy UK will aim to keep its members aware of these. Staff have regular meetings with government officials from relevant departments, such as from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and will continue to provide the latest information on Brexit – and broader policy, regulatory and market intelligence – through member webinars and specific meetings, as necessary.

If there are specific impacts of Brexit which industry members are affected by – or which may present a risk or opportunity – please get in touch.