First Minister Visits AES Solar for Sustainability Showcase

First Minister Visits AES Solar for Sustainability Showcase

The First Minister visits AES Solar, to discuss the strength of Scottish solar and the exciting expansion plans on the horizon for the solar power company based in the North East of Scotland.

The AES Solar staff gather outside the office as the First Minister visits AES Solar
AES Solar staff welcomed the First Minister and his team.
Pioneering Scottish Solar

On Saturday, Humza Yousaf received a warm welcome from AES Solar staff to our head office and factory in Forres. During the visit, Humza took a tour of the office and workshop facilities and received an explanation of the solar thermal manufacturing process from Director Campbell MacLennan. Established in 1979, we hold the distinction of being the oldest manufacturer of solar thermal panels in Western Europe. We still manufacture our solar thermal collector, the AES Luminary, on-site to this day. Considered experts in the field, we are well-versed in explaining the technology to the First Minister!

Three men gather round a solar thermal panel wearing his vis jackets and hard hats as the First Minister visits AES Solar.
Director Campbell provides a run-through of our solar thermal collector, The AES Luminary.

Over the years, we have solidified our position as experts in Scottish solar, specialising in the design and installation of solar thermal, solar PV, and battery storage systems. Notable projects in our portfolio include a Solar PV system on Edinburgh Castle and AES Luminary panels installed at Balmoral Royal Estate. We were pleased to share these achievements with the First Minister and some of our award wins, including The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognising our efforts in Sustainable Development.

Transition and Continuity

The timing of the First Minister’s visit coincided with AES Solar’s recent announcement of a transformative phase, as Founder George Goudsmit steps down as Managing Director marking a significant transition. Mr Yousaf had the opportunity to hear some of George’s stories and experiences from his four decades within the industry.

The First Minister wearing a high vis vest and a hard hat laughs on his visit to AES Solar.
George delights Mr Yousaf with his forty years of solar experience!

Management of the business will be taken over by the existing senior leadership team, Campbell MacLennan, Jamie Di Sotto and Lynn Davidson, as part of a management buyout. This move secures the long-term future of AES Solar while preserving its foundational principles and core values. Although stepping back from day-to-day business, George will still be involved in AES Solar by remaining immersed in the renewables industry and exploring disruptive innovation in this fast-moving sector.

Investing in the Future

Following the technology demonstration, the First Minister and his team were accompanied to the vacant brownfield site which AES Solar recently acquired as part of our development plans. We seek to develop the site into a thriving solar hub with additional manufacturing, office and storage space, in doing so creating job opportunities and boosting the local economy. Plans have already commenced to clear and secure the site.

Four men in two groups of two in deep discussion as they walk over to the brownfield site for development by AES Solar.
A walk was taken over to the land AES Solar plans to transform into a solar hub

Moreover, the First Minister engaged with young staff members, underscoring AES Solar’s commitment to youth development in the local community through apprenticeships and graduate schemes. Discussions with employees such as Graduate Apprentice Engineer Kiera and Lead Solar Installer Jordan highlighted the company’s dedication to nurturing talent and fostering career growth.

Two woman and two men in discussion, listening to one young woman with brown hair in particular
Kiera fills Mr Yousaf in on her Graduate Apprenticeship

We also had the opportunity to raise some of the challenges faced in the industry to the First Minister such as the skills gap, grid constraints and the incredible changes to Home Energy Scotland funding for solar PV and battery storage.

Commercial Director, Jamie Di Sotto said:

“Last week marked a significant transition for AES Solar as we announced that our Founder, George Goudsmit will be stepping down from his role as Managing Director. We were delighted to welcome the First Minister to our office as we embark on this new phase of our journey. Scottish solar is stronger than ever and we are enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead. Our dedication to driving sustainable innovation within the renewable energy sector remains unwavering, and it was a pleasure to share our vision which was so warmly received by the First Minister and his team.”

Two men (including the First Minister) gather round a Tesla Powerwall app demonstration on a visit to AES Solar.
Jamie provides a demo of the Tesla Powerwall App