Looking forward to 2018: A letter from Chris Hewett, Chief Executive

The STA is looking forward to 2018 as the year where greater optimism can emerge across the sector, albeit against a backdrop which is still much tougher than it was a few years ago. However, we are part of a global industry that is now hugely significant in the transition to a zero carbon economy where technologies continue to improve.

Larger UK solar companies are now expanding their horizons to take advantage of global opportunities, whilst keeping their roots in domestic markets. At home, as direct government subsidies are removed, we will see the emergence of new business models for deployment, more sophisticated management, operation & maintenance of existing assets and continuing integration of solar, storage, smart power and demand side response. The STA will continue to promote the economic opportunities offered by solar PV, solar heat and energy storage and supporting the industry to reach new markets.

In a subsidy-free environment, the impact of other government policies such as taxation, network regulation and charging, planning, access to power markets, building standards and many more, will come into sharper focus for the industry. The STA team, in tandem with our member working groups, will ensure the industry voice is heard across government. A large focus will be on shaping the national policy framework for solar post-FiT subsidies, but we will be engaging at local and regional level too. Watch out for our forthcoming report on how local authorities can support solar, which we hope to follow up with some workshops around the country. We will also have specific work streams with the DNOs and National Grid, with a Best Industry Practice Guide for solar asset owners working with DNOs on reducing unwanted outages coming out in the Spring.

On a personal note I am delighted to be starting this year as the Chief Executive of the STA and look forward to working with the board, our executive team and members throughout 2018.


Chris Hewett