As we approach the end of 2019 and the final half of our 40th birthday we reflect on a glowing year for AES Solar with our 2019 year review!
End of the Feed-in Tariff
The start of 2019 was an unsettled time in the solar industry due to the closure of the Feed-in Tariff to new applications at the end of March. At the time, we were concerned over the lack of clarification on the proposed replacement, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
It was because of this Josh and I met with the at that time Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry to gain further clarification for the industry and our customers. During this meeting, we felt our views and ambitions for the industry were genuinely listened to regarding solar heat and it’s contribution to future policy goals.
Both SEG and solar district heating were discussed, and we were delighted that our views and expertise were valued with further discussions with Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy arranged. With the SEG to be fully implemented in January 2020, we are keen to highlight that the solar industry is still thriving. In fact, we have had our busiest year to date!
Aiming (sky) High
Despite the changes to the industry AES Solar have not scaled back our efforts. As ambitious as ever we completed a 16-panel install on an octagon-shaped roof!
This has also been a sky-high year for large scale commercial systems. We have broken the AES Solar record for the number of 50 kWp solar PV systems, such as this commercial PV install on the WM Donald workship in Stonehaven. I remember when we completed the first 50 kWp system back in 2011. Now it’s part of a growing trend of commercial operators utilising their large roof spaces to reduce carbon footprint.
The Road to Energy Independence
This year has also seen customers fully embrace the AES Solar product range. We installed this 4 kWp solar PV system alongside our AES Supremacy collectors in 2018 and recently got back out to install a Tesla Powerwall and EV charger. With the Tesla Powerwall storing excess power and with an electric vehicle this household is well on the road to energy independence.
Speaking of energy independence you don’t get much more independent than off-grid! Unconnected to the national electricity grid, an off-grid system is ideal for remote projects. Adding to our experience in installing and maintaining off-grid systems this year we added Crichton Castle to the portfolio – a historic Scottish castle that once hosted Mary Queen of Scots!
Other exciting off-grid projects this year include taking the Midlothian Community Hospital garden off-grid and a domestic retreat on an island off the coast of Skye. This shows the exciting potential for off-grid systems in 2019 and beyond!
Additions to the Trophy Cabinet
This year saw not one but four additions to the AES Solar trophy cabinet. We have only gone from strength to strength. At the Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Awards in April we were awarded Best Energy Efficiency in House Design or Build.
Then we attended the Scotland Energy Efficiency Awards in June where we picked up Solar PV Installer and Contractor of the Year. We also received a commendation for excelling in Vulnerable Customer Support.
These accolades made us eligible for entry to the national awards in September. I spent an evening in Birmingham surrounded by the best and brightest in the solar industry. I was delighted when AES Solar were awarded third place in the same category that named us best in Scotland. These accolades all recognise our commitment to our work, our customers and our community. It was fantastic to bring home these additions to our trophy cabinet in 2019.
40 Trips around the Sun
It might be hard to believe AES Solar tuned the big 4-0 in 2019 because of course, we look so good for our age. We kicked off the birthday milestone celebrations with a rebrand and launch of our new website. I’m sure you’ll agree it looks fantastic!
Not one to say no to a challenge, a dedicated team of AES Solar celebrated our birthday year by taking part in a 44 km walk for charity. A brilliant fundraising opportunity, AES Solar successfully raised £2,390.00 for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
We also organised a 40 tree giveaway with the hope that these trees will continue to flourish over the next 40 years as we work towards a more sustainable future!
New Faces in 2019
AES Solar was joined by three new faces in 2019 as we welcomed three permanent staff to the team!
Lizzy joined in February as the maternity cover for our technical assistant Chloe. Lizzy will now be joining us permanently as our technical administrative assistant. A massive congratulations to Chloe and her partner on the birth of their daughter Orlagh – an AES Solar baby! We’re looking forward to welcoming Chloe when she returns in the new year.
In March this year, we also welcomed digital brand strategist Hannah J (not to be confused with lead administrator Hannah L) to the team. As part of a ScotGrad placement, Hannah will undertake the marketing activities for AES Solar. Finally, technical sales advisor Peter McIntosh joined us in September. As a member of the sales team, Peter also carries out surveys so do say hello if you see him!
Work Experience and Interns
We have our fair share of work experience students over the summer months here at AES Solar. Joined by three work experience students over the summer this year, these students were looking to gain valuable experience in the renewables sector.
Sabine, a Dutch student from NHL Stenden University also joined us in September. Sabine is undertaking this internship as part of her final year thesis. She will look to explore business structures and concepts for AES Solar. She will particularly be looking into employee ownership trusts, providing recommendations of models that fit with the strategy, mission and vision of AES Solar. This is a very exciting step in the future of the business and I cannot wait to see what she proposes.
Finally, we have been accompanied by several four-legged guests who have joined us temporarily. Dogs can improve employee morale, decrease stress and encourage work-life balance and we couldn’t agree more!
And they say never work with children and animals??
In signing off the AES Solar year review I would like to thank my wonderfully talented team. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our new and existing customers, clients and partners. This has been an exciting year for AES Solar, and we could not have done it without your continued support. We cannot wait for the next 40 years!
George Goudsmit, Managing Director