The UK's Solar Trade Association (STA) is to end its formal affiliation with the Renewable Energy Association (REA) as of 1 January 2015 and said it was time to grow in step with the UK market.
The two have been linked for the past three and a half years. The associations said that the split would allow them to focus on their respective core strengths.
The STA said that the move reflects a wider trend to adopt technology-specific trade associations and hopes that the break will allow it to increase its resources and strengthen its voice.
Commenting on the split, REA chairman Martin Wright said: “I’m very proud of the achievements we have secured together these past three and a half years and very grateful to the STA staff and membership for their vital work. I wish the STA every success for the future.”
The REA said that it will look at strengthening its offer for solar technology in the wake of the STA “by building on the excellent capacity in our existing On-site and Renewable Power sector groups. We will continue to apply our unparalleled policy expertise and strong relations with government to the goal of securing a bright future for UK solar energy”.
STA chairman Jan Sisson said: “Solar has come of age and has become a significant presence in the UK renewables market. As this market has expanded, so too must the STA to meet the new challenges ahead. It is vital that solar energy strengthens its voice, particularly with an eye on the increasingly competitive post-subsidy world.”
Sisson echoed Wright’s pride at the two associations achievements: “I would like to thank everyone at the REA for its valued contribution in supporting the STA to become the highly professional, respected and influential voice of solar that it is today…We may now be two separate organisations, but we will continue to work side by side towards our common goal of mainstreaming renewable energy.”
The STA said that the split would provide it with a fresh start that will coincide with a new government which would bring with it new challenges for the sector. As part of the move, the STA predicts that it will employ more staff in addition to upgrading its processes, marketing and membership recruitment. The STA has also revealed that it will work on rebranding its logo, including updating its website in early 2015.
Frans van den Huevel, CEO of Solarcentury welcomed the STA’s move to go it alone, he said: “Without the STA, the industry would have had no effective collective lobbying voice this year on the crucial issues facing our industry. The STA’s future plans involve further expansion of permanent staff numbers and crucially pushing forward the STA’s ‘subsidy-free solar by 2020’ plan with the government and other key stakeholders. We urge non-STA members to consider joining the association as it embarks on this next exciting development phase.”
Paul Barwell, CEO of the STA will be outlining the association’s vision for zero subsidy solar at this year’s Solar Energy UK. In addition, the STA has had two campaigns shortlisted for the Solar Power Portal Awards on Tuesday.