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The big debate

The solar industry is constantly evolving and new ideas and innovations are a welcome source of change and regneration. We asked five pioneers in the field – from five diverging sectors – to give us their views on where the industry is headed and how they are helping to encourage the evolution of an industry.

Once again, we present our exclusive roundtable interview…


John Forster Chairman of Forster Energy, Chairman Solar Trade Association

Jane Burston Head of National Physical Laboratory’s Centre for Carbon Measurement

Sven Armbrecht Area Sales Manager at LG Solar

Noel Forrest Manager, Turquoise International

Mark Dunville Technical Director, AR Power

PES: Can you explain a little about your background and how you ‘serve’ the solar industry?
John Forster:
As Chairman of Forster Group, Scotland’s leading roofing and solar PV company, I am pleased to say we have experienced strong growth in our roofing and solar businesses in recent years. We are currently developing our innovative integrated roofing and solar service for the new build housing sector to help them meet the new carbon reduction targets set in the 2015 Building Standards.
With more than 25 years’ experience in the sector I was recently invited to become a board member of The Solar Trade Association (STA) and I am actively involved in their ‘New Build’ working group.
I am the Chairman of, and was instrumental in, creating the new Scottish STA committee and working groups which seek to act as a strong voice for Solar in Scotland – advising and developing policy with the Scottish Government and raising awareness of solar benefits nationally.
I recently spoke on ‘integrated solar in Scotland’ at an STA Commercial Roof-top event and on ‘Scottish PV – An installers perspective’ at last year’s Scottish Institute for Solar Energy Research (SISER) Solar Energy Conference.
Jane Burston: As Head of the Centre for Carbon Measurement at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, I manage a diverse team of over 150 scientists who specialise in climate science and the monitoring of carbon emissions. The Centre is also responsible for validating the performance of exciting new low-carbon technologies, including photovoltaics and other renewables.
Before taking on my current role, I ran my own business in the environmental sector, and worked as a consultant and policy advisor on environmental issues for the Mayor of London’s office as well as for a range of FTSE 100 businesses, public sector organisations and SMEs. I currently serve as a Board Member of the London Universities Natural Environmental Research Council Doctoral Training Programme, a Trustee of the campaigning NGO Sandbag, and I am a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Urbanisation.


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