Two minutes with The STA

Who are you?
Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association

What do you do?
The STA is a not for profit trade association representing the solar PV and solar thermal industries in the UK. We are the most influential UK solar trade body with a real track record of winning breakthroughs for UK solar.

Where are you?
We are based in London near Charing Cross – we have just recently moved office.

How’s business at the moment?
Very busy!  Political uncertainty, the looming general election and defending the industry from the changes to the Renewables Obligation in May 2014 has increased our workload significantly. And these challenges are all additional to our everyday roles of responding to the many DECC consultations, ongoing policy work and membership enquiries.

How could business be better?
How about some political stability!  The changes to the Renewables Obligation announced on 13 May 2014 have set an uncomfortable precedent for the renewables industry in general.  Budgets are under close scrutiny from the Treasury, and with the FITs review in the second half of this year we could do with some support from the new government.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Embrace change – markets move very quickly and you have to keep up.  What we ‘create’ will ‘destroy’ itself within a few years due to competition, so you need to anticipate and embrace the changes that are needed however tough they may be.

How are you going green?
All our back office functions are now electronic and in the cloud, including all our membership contracts.  Much less paper, and much lower overheads.