The Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the Solar Trade Association (STA) are currently in the process of merging their memberships to form a 400 strong Association to champion the UK’s solar industry. 

Some details of the arrangements are still being ironed out, yet the plans will result in the re-launching of the Solar Trade Association, as a trade body affiliated to the REA.  The new, combined Association will operate from the same offices as the Renewable Energy Association, which will provide its administrative functions and policy expertise.

Bringing together the thirty three year old STA with members of the REA's Solar Power Group, the new revamped STA will fully represent both the solar thermal and PV industry in the UK. The member numbers, which are expected to increase post launch, total 400, making the new STA the largest solar trade body in the country.

By combining these two industry forces, the industry will benefit from a stronger voice and better representation, provided with the resources to fully engage in standards and certification work as well as far more targeted promotional campaigning.  Training and education will also become increasingly important as the industry matures.

The affiliation adds strengths to both parties, and sharing an office in Central London will mean that the two teams will work on issues that impact on all renewable sectors, with more cohesion than ever before. The roll out of the new association will be happening over the coming months, with a member get together and Q&A session at ecobuild, which is running from March 1-3rd.

Howard Johns, Chairman of the Solar Trade Association said, “With the growth in the solar industry in the UK this move to bring the industry together more fully could not have come at a better time. We really need good representation for solar in the UK and I believe this new revamped STA will provide it.”

Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the REA said, “Having won the feed in tariffs, which fired the starting gun for PV in the UK, we're keen to catch up with our European neighbours.  With the solar tariffs now under review, and the continued delay to the heat incentive we need unity more than ever before.”

Existing members have welcomed the move, as they will benefit from not having to join multiple associations.

Barry Marsh of British Gas said, “With interests in both solar markets, British Gas fully endorses this merger. It will provide unparalleled depth of knowledge and experience, enabling strong and credible  representation at this crucial time.”

Neil Schofield of Bosch Thermotechnology said, “We very much welcome the two organisations coming together, it makes obvious sense, and will be excellent for the solar industry.”

Martin Cotterell of Sundog Energy said, “We have been in the UK PV market for the last 15 years and recognize the strengths of both organizations.  We welcome this merger and think it will strengthen and provide a strong focus for the industry at this key time in the UK.”

Several key players are now joining the STA en masse, having been awaiting this development.

Andrew Lee, of UK manufacturer, Sharp said, “We welcome the news that two well-respected trade bodies are merging to form one association which allows for a more powerful and organized voice for our Solar PV industry at a time when we need to ensure that the investments made now will deliver a strong and stable market place for the future.”

Tom Paul of Kingspan Group said, “Good news.  We now have a full-on trade association to develop the potential for solar renewable technologies.  Let's hope the Government now plays its full part and backs what is a future key industry for UK growth, jobs and the built environment.”

The STA Council, REA’s Solar Power Steering Committee and the REA Board would like to invite the members of both Associations, and potential members, to drinks at the ecobuild event at the Solar Hub immediately after the exhibition closes from 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday 2nd March.  Stand N2040.