Solar Trade Association seeks new chief executive as Barwell stands down

Paul Barwell
Paul Barwell

Paul Barwell – the chief executive of the Solar Trade Association – is to stand down after five years at the top of the renewable power body.

During his tenure, the STA has achieved a number of key wins for the solar sector, as well as providing national leadership on industry standards.  This work has helped generate record levels of public support for the technology despite its incredible growth.

Barwell has overseen the transformation of the association, originally established in 1978, to become the leading voice of the solar industry and one fully able to support the industry’s rapid growth. Over 12GW of solar capacity has been deployed during this period, supplying 4% of UK electricity. His ‘top 10’ hard-earned policy successes include:

  1. Softening the government’s proposed Feed in Tariff (FIT) changes during two major reviews
  2. Reducing the impact of the Renewable Obligation (RO) closure for investors
  3. Negotiating fair business rates for exported solar
  4. Defining national standards for the development and construction of solar farms through STA’s ‘10 Commitments’
  5. Defending and defining the cost of integrating solar into the grid
  6. Designing and retaining the maximum RHI tariff for solar thermal
  7. Identifying barriers to non-domestic rooftops and securing permitted development
  8. Winning 5% VAT for solar & new storage
  9. Defining strong standards for Operation and Maintenance of solar projects, and:
  10. Establishing ‘Solar Independence Day’. 

Barwell said: This was a hard decision. It has been a real privilege to support the growth of a unique & special technology that is so vital for a prosperous future. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some brilliant colleagues, members and partners, which has meant we punch well above our weight. But there is no doubt the solar industry has faced more challenges than it should given a track record of exceptional achievement.

“It is time for a change for me personally – but I won’t be going far. I am pursuing some commercial interests that are very much embedded in the solar sector and I hope to remain a part of the STA’s extraordinary network as a member in due course’. 

STA Chairman Jonathan Selwyn commented; “Everyone has seen the great contribution the STA, under Paul’s leadership, has made in the public realm to support the growth of solar in the UK.

“What they may not appreciate is the quality of Paul’s management & industry engagement behind the scenes which has attracted a membership that is characterised by high standards and which manages around a third of all the solar deployed across the UK today. 

“Paul’s superb strategic management of the association and his ability to maintain its membership levels against the backdrop of challenging market conditions means that the STA is in its strongest financial position ever.

“It has also meant the STA has moved successfully into new policy areas such as the storage space where it is already securing early policy wins. We are now looking for a new chief executive to build on these achievements as solar and storage play an ever more important role at the heart of the UK’s energy transformation.”

27 Sept 2017

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