2016 has been a challenging year for the business market due to a number of political outcomes and decisions which have created uncertainty across the globe and the renewable industry has not been exempt from that.
Despite these uncertainties AES Solar has continued to flourish, a recognition of a strong, robust and talented company with a focus on 100% solar-related projects. We truly are the solar experts and have a burgeoning reputation across Europe.
Despite the huge blow dealt to the industry after the government decided to cut subsidies for installing solar PV panels by 65%, we have evaded the industry trend through hard work and determination carried out by our highly experienced team.
Record number of installations
We have undertaken a record number of domestic and commercial projects and our enquiry levels are well up on last year. We were nominated for three prestigious awards and are working on two European Union funded research projects. These are just a few of the highlights.
We truly believe it is the combination of our team and the fact we are the longest-established solar thermal manufacturer in Western Europe, and the only one in Scotland allowing us to forge ahead and continue to grow.
We have installed a record number of PV and thermal systems in 2016 including four schools ranging from 45 to 50KW PV installs, three police stations, a swimming pool and a recycling centre.
Large commercial to small domestic
2017 is already looking promising with several negotiations underway to work on large commercial projects involving numerous money and energy saving opportunities for our clients.
The domestic market for us has also been buoyant. We have carried out a considerable number of residential installs and these personal jobs are just as much a pleasure to work on as the commercial projects.
It really is rewarding to finish a job and know the customer will start saving immediately.
Research and innovation
2016 has also seen us be honoured with securing two EU-funded research projects. We are now working with other experts across Europe in researching the full potential of solar and it is clear to see that we have some of the leading solar thermal engineers in Europe to the benefit of the renewable and construction industries and all of our customers.
We were also delighted to release news that we had designed a new ground-breaking custom-built panel range that can be shaped or altered to accommodate difficult roof areas – and this includes them being any colour that will blend in with the surroundings or satisfy those with a more eccentric taste in colour.
This will be an architect and designer’s dream as the reshaping and colouring of the panels will mean they can be created to meet specific design requirements.
Again this innovation is down to our experienced design team who love a challenge and always rise to them accordingly.
These new customisable panels were also used by Solar Kingdom in their shortlisted project for the prestigious Solar Power Portal Awards. Nominated for the Best Residential PV Project, AES Solar manufactured two custom built panels that fit snugly into the roof hips.
It has been a phenomenal year with regard to awards and this is something we intend to carry on into 2017.
In the Spring, Grant Feasey was selected as an Engineering finalist in the Young Professionals Green Energy Awards. These awards showcase the enormous range of young talent in the renewable industry.
Grant joined AES Solar as a graduate in 2011 and has worked his way up to senior design engineer. Grant was responsible for the successful development of the latest Solar Thermal product launched by AES Solar, called the AES Supremacy. The AES Supremacy is an engineering triumph both efficient, versatile and visually appealing.
Then later in the year AES Solar was nominated for not one, but two, further awards. The first was awarded by the Moray Chamber of Commerce where we ended up taking home the gong for SME of the Year at its annual business awards.
The second award nomination was for an installation handled by our team for Craigdon Mountain Sports at the Pentland Outdoor Centre in Edinburgh.
AES expanding in 2017
In-house there have been lots of exciting developments too, with initial plans to expand our premises in 2017 and meetings currently being held with a local architect. However, we have no doubt that these will include some element of solar – quite possibly our new custom-built range!
We are also delighted to have three modern apprentices working with the team and we consider investing in apprenticeships is vitally important to our company. Having a steady stream of young, enthusiastic team members helps us achieve company goals while also providing individuals a platform to develop their chosen career paths.
Collaborative working is no new concept to AES Solar and this year we have cemented a number of partnerships throughout the renewables industry. We are under no doubt that collaborations with other installers, manufacturers and industry professionals will lead to a stronger AES Solar and a stronger renewables industry.
We are also delighted to expand our professional service network by reaching out to IT service provider Dynamic Edge and local marketing experts.
Dynamic Edge have been appointed to ensure we have seamless IT systems and support and also to make sure our system needs develop at the same pace as the company. A local PR company have been working on securing media coverage, developing the website and our social media presence and looking for other opportunities that will gain more brand recognition for AES Solar.
We are a vibrant company and there is a lot going on and handing over the IT and PR side of the business means we can get on with what we know best – solar!
Our fabulous relationship with Highland & Islands Enterprise has also continued and they have been tremendous in working alongside us to develop corporate strategies and establish programmes of training and continuous improvement.
AES Solar is well and truly ending 2016 on a high.
2017 is already off to a cracking start following the announcement just last week that the government had dropped plans to remove solar thermal from the Renewable Heat Incentive. This is huge news for the solar industry and can only mean that AES Solar will be even busier in 2017. In respect of government subsidies, the year has come full circle – starting on a low and ending on a high.
And we will be watching to see what the governments – both Scottish and Westminster have planned for this year. We expect big things. The Scottish Government’s Renewable Strategy will be interesting and we will wait with anticipation to see how Westminster reacts to that.
All of this coupled with developments in battery storage will make it a very interesting and vibrant year ahead. Battery storage will be a game changer for Solar PV taking it into the tariff-free world. We intend to be at the forefront of the development of the equipment and will watch the market closely in order to give our customers the best products and prices. We will without a doubt have the most experience when these products hit the mainstream market.
So it’s farewell to 2016 as we head towards a new year with another tremendous 12 months under our belts.
I wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year,
With warm regards,
George Goudsmit, Managing Director, AES Solar