Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett succeeded by Philip Comberg

Green energy entrepreneur, environmental campaigner and founder of Solarcentury Jeremy Leggett has stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman of the renewables company.

Leggett has been replaced by solar expert Philip Comberg, who recently joined the Solarcentury board as an independent director.

The firm’s chief executive Frans van den Heuvel said: “Solarcentury is at an exciting juncture as we expand into Africa and Latin America, where many countries are at grid parity, so there’s a strong economic case for solar.

“This growth will be guided by Philip’s wealth of international solar experience, combined with his financial and commercial pedigree.

“With this strategy in place, Jeremy can take more time to focus on his tireless campaigning to promote solar in the fight against climate change. This was Solarcentury’s mission 16 years ago and it’s still as relevant today as it ever was.

“We will continue to work hard with Jeremy, and the rest of the solar industry, to encourage the widespread adoption of solar power to help reduce carbon emissions.”

Climate change abatement

Leggett said the move will allow him to focus on other campaigns in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

He added: “This is a make or break year for everyone who cares about abating climate change, promoting poverty alleviation, and solar’s massive role in those missions. I feel a strong need, almost at the level of my DNA, to adjust my portfolio of activities to create more space for campaigning.

“I need to be doing more, in particular, with Carbon Tracker, SolarAid, and my new idea of a 5% Club for Climate and Development based on the Solarcentury-SolarAid model.

“All of these can help the forces pushing for a meaningful treaty in Paris, and for progress beyond. I’m delighted to be able to pass on the mantle of chairman, knowing that the leadership is safe in the hands of Frans van den Heuvel, chief executive, and Philip Comberg, chairman, and that the company will be steered by this duo with consummate professionalism consistent with its values, brand and culture.”

Risky projects

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Leggett said he predicts that “at least one of the major oil companies will turn its back on fossil fuels in the near future”.

He said: “One of the oil companies will break ranks and this time it is going to stick. The industry is facing plunging commodity prices and soaring costs at risky projects in the Arctic, deepwater Brazil and elsewhere.

“Oil companies are also realising it is no long morally defensible to ignore the consequences of climate change.”

Lois Vallely

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