Bankruptcies show increased need for UK solar infrastructure

The government should do more to promote solar manufacturing infrastructure in Britain, an industry pioneer tells edie energy.

Jeremy Leggett, the founder of solar PV giant SolarCentury, believes his 'enemies' among the Big Six energy companies will be gloating over recent solar failures.

But, Mr Leggett insists the fall of Evergreen Solar and Solyndra will not dent what are buoyant times for the industry.

Both companies have filed for bankruptcy in the United States blaming cheaper Chinese imports, but Mr Leggett feel if the government ignores this now it will pay for it in the long run.

Speaking exclusively to edie, he said: "Energy security is a silver bullet for government that they're not firing.

"Globalisation of energy markets is next and individual countries need their own domestic infrastructure.

"Most countries will have grid parity within the next decade, so this is a big opportunity for government.

"But, at the moment it is not even entering into dialogue with industry successfully about solar PV."

But despite the government's position and strong lobbying from the backers of fossil fuels or the 'forces of darkness' as he calls them Mr Leggett says the solar industry in the UK is performing well.

He added: "It is a proper old battle between the people who understand and the rest who don't.

"If you listen to our enemies among the people in the 'Big Six' it's already over as they're always trying to cut our legs off.

"But if you look at our successful community project in places like Brighton and you can see we're batting strongly for the industry."

Mr Leggett will be speaking in the energy section of edie's Sustainability Leaders Forum on November 3 at the Hurlingham Club in London.

Luke Walsh


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