The UK’s solar industry will challenge the UK government’s green policy reset and market uncertainty when it meets this week at Birmingham’s NEC for Solar Energy UK, the country’s largest international B2B solar energy event, which runs 13-15 October.
Now in its sixth year and with more than 5,000 attendees expected, the exhibition brings together the whole of the UK’s solar value chain and low carbon professionals attracting a wide selection of international companies with new investment opportunities in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, India, Ireland, Europe – and of course the UK.
Recent policy moves undertaken by the UK government has created great uncertainty in the UK’s solar market and last week saw the first major announcements of job losses in the industry, which could jeopardise 27,000* positions should the proposals be enacted in their current guise. The event will give attendees strategic information necessary to beat such uncertainty and help plan ahead in 2016. In addition, companies will be updated on how Europe’s tendering process will change and the impact this will have upon developers and installers.
Almost 60% of the UK’s solar installers are looking to diversify into new technologies should the government’s feed-in tariff proposals come into force next year, a survey conducted by Solar Power Portal publisher Solar Media recently found. And just 7% of those surveyed said they would be intending to stay solely as a PV installer, enforcing the current market switch to more diversified offerings. One mooted area of particular interest is energy efficiency measures, incorporating technologies such as smart meters, LED lighting and increased building insulation, due to the UK’s emerging need to ramp up efforts in the space.
Solar Energy UK will address all these opportunities through seminars and discussions designed specifically to help guide installers towards diversification, including the energy+ stage dedicated to sessions on storage – large scale and domestic. UK policy workshops will also run and sessions for energy managers, the public sector, land owners, rooftop owners, DNOs, electric vehicle companies and energy buyers decarbonising their own operations feature significantly.
Tim Mann, managing director at Solar Media, said: “Despite recent market conditions, we’ve had a record number of total registrations and we’ve put together content specifically for those of you working out what to prioritise in 2016, both in the UK and in international markets. We also have more exhibitors than ever from complementary technologies such as storage attending to show what’s coming for 2016. Tuesday night’s Solar Power Portal Awards will sell out by tomorrow as market participants want the opportunity to meet and update, in more informal surroundings, on the direction others are taking. We have remained focused on encouraging all of you who are involved, to support UK solar by making the trip to Birmingham and engaging with the thousands within the industry who are focused on doing business. We applaud the resilience and creativity of those supporting the industry with their attendance and contributions this week”.
Finlay Colville, Head of Market Intelligence at Solar Media, added: “As the UK’s solar industry adjusts to proposed government changes to incentive rates, it is now more important than ever that the industry comes together. SEUK is the one event annually that all key stakeholders of UK solar are present, making the show this week all the more pertinent. Understanding what’s left in the government pot for solar is an immediate question to be answered, alongside having the correct long-term strategy to emerge as an industry leader post-subsidies.”
“Nothing will stop Solar now, attending the Event is a must for all attached to the UK Solar Industry and establish where their business opportunities will be in the future” says Ray Noble, REA Solar, Storage & EV Advisor. “Solar Energy UK is the ‘must attend’ annual event for anyone doing solar PV business – it is a key networking opportunity, and gives the STA as a trade association time to meet with our members and take the pulse of the industry,” added Paul Barwell, CEO, the Solar Trade Association.
Solar Energy UK comes at the close of an unprecedented year for the UK solar industry. Installed capacity has gone from strength to strength despite policy updates and 2016 is set to be another big year as companies rush to beat the subsidy cut-off. The event will also address what companies need to do to ensure operating assets maintain their value with dedicated asset management and O&M sessions and attendees will be able to access new international opportunities, find new rooftop business and see how they can work with new technologies.