Two minutes with… Viridian


Q: Who are you? Stuart Elmes, Esq.

Q: What do you do? I’m founder and chief executive of Viridian Solar. I also help out at the Solar Trade Association, where I’ve been on the board for the last five years and chaired the Solar Thermal Working Group since it was established 4 years ago.I volunteer at the MCS, where I’m active on the solar thermal and roofing working groups.

Q: Where are you? We’re based in Cambridge.  Our market is predominantly in the UK but we export our solar panels to seven countries in Europe.

Q: How’s business at the moment? Business is good.  2014 was excellent, but we’ve got some exciting new developments coming along the pipeline for 2015, which I can’t wait to introduce to the market. Q: How could business be better? It would be great if the dRHI re-ignited the solar thermal market.  We reckon the financial returns aren’t too shabby, but you’ve got to include the energy savings in your calculation, not just the subsidies.

Q: Who do you admire in renewables? I’d like to give some recognition to Mike Landy at the STA, who really does the hard yards ploughing through pages and pages of legislation and government consultations.  His work continues to underpin all our efforts to influence government policy in new build and energy efficiency for the better.

Q: What’s the best business advice you’ve received? A friend and colleague at the University here in Cambridge who had experience of starting a solar business in the US after the 70s oil shock told me “don’t ever, never ever, under any circumstances at all, go into a business sector that attracts government subsidy.”

Wish I’d listened to him!