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The big debate

‘Do you believe the European Commission should impose trade duties on Chinese module manufacturers?’ Now there’s a question. We put together this cross panel interview two weeks before we went to press – just before the recent trade duties announcement – and the answers we received were pleasingly polarised. Find out what our interviewees thought later on in the interview and soak-up their thoughts in this, perhaps our biggest and best-ever roundtable. Let battle commence!

PES: Welcome to the magazine. Before we head into the main issues of the day, can you tell our readers a little about your role, and how your organisation is involved in the solar industry?

Chris Jardine: I’ve got two jobs really! My main role is as the Technical Director of Joju Solar, a solar PV installation company, covering the domestic, commercial and community sectors. Additionally I’m also a Senior Researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford where I’ve looked at PV and other microgeneration from technology, policy and economic angles. So I’ve got a pretty unique view on the industry, from a high level academic perspective to real on-the-ground issues.

Gordon Wylie: After more than 20 years working within large organisations in the consulting engineering, management consultancy and telecoms sectors, I wanted a new challenge as an entrepreneur.

I decided to create a new company in the renewable energy sector to help the environment and the wider society – I just needed a vision! The seeds of this vision came to me when the Department of Energy & Climate Change introduced Feed-In Tariffs (FITs) in April 2010 to encourage investment in microgeneration of renewable energy. This provided the opportunity for my new venture and I began researching the sector. Solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation seemed to be the most attractive in the short term.

As a member of a UK Energy Policy Working Group from 2009 – 2011 I gained a number of key insights into the sector. This Working Group (comprising Chartered Engineers with MBAs) was organised by the Sainsbury Management Fellowship (www.smf.org.uk) to influence UK Government energy policy to meet both energy security and climate change targets.

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