Monday, October 02, 2006

The Solar Trade Association

Hello There My Friends,

Hope you enjoyed your weekend. Interesting to note that on the BBC Breakfast Money Minute slots last Thursday, the Chief Exec of B&Q was being interviewed about their plans to stock wind turbines and solar thermal panels. However he hasnt got any on his home - yet (he did say he lived in a conservation area).

Today I would like to mention The Solar Trade Association - their annual conference & exhibition is this week (Wednesday 4th October 06) in Milton Keynes.

According to their website, The Solar Trade Association Ltd. (STA) is a company limited by guarantee, having been formed in 1978 to serve as a focal point for organisations with business interests in the Solar Energy industry. Those interests cover thermal applications, such as the production of domestic or industrial hot water or the heating of swimming pools. The STA endeavours to connect people with the sun, promote widespread use of solar energy technology and encourage excellence within the UK solar energy industry.

The STA website goes to to say that in addition to regulating the activities and standards of its members, the STA serves as an enquiry centre for the public, industry and governmental bodies. It provides information to enhance the general understanding of the advantages derived from solar energy systems and to encourage potential purchasers to use STA members. The members are made up of the producers of solar collectors and associated equipment and the installers of systems which cover the thermal solar business in the United Kingdom. The STA endeavours to influence opinion and facilitate widespread acceptance of all types of solar technology and provides information to its members on a regular basis concerning national and international standards, public enquiries, new legislation and advances in technology.

It takes part in standards committees and has a regular dialogue with Government Departments.The use of solar energy spares the use of conventional fuel and is non-polluting, thus being kind to the environment and reducing running costs for the user at the same time. By choosing a solar energy installation via STA members, you are assured of the highest quality and support.

Im surprised to see that atleast half a dozen well known and reputable solar thermal suppliers and installers that are not STA members listed on their site? I will attempt to investigate if there is a reason for this - I would have thought that everyone should subscribe to this and would actively encourage people to do so.

There is an annual membership fee and the cost is dependant upon the size of company (eg sole trader or SME - 10 employees or more, large company such as an equipment supplier or an energy company and a level in between). The membership charge starts from £100 per annum (+VAT).

The STA do scrutinise all membership applications which begin with the completion of the registration form by the applicant. The STA look into the financial stability of the applicant, their track record and their local trading standards background. They also check references. The applicant doesn't necessarily have to be a Clear Skies approved installer but most members are according to the STA.

Apparently this weeks event is so popular, the STA have had to book another room at the conference facilities - I hope they have an excellent AGM.

From Your Friend The Energy Angel

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