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Industry divided over latest Solartwin blackball stunt.

Filed under: Latest News

Charging confidently and deeper into the mire, UK’s renegade (and increasingly isolated) trade body, The Solar Trade Association Ltd, has intensified its   commercial opposition to Solartwin by refusing today to allow it to exhibit its innovative solar water heating technology at its forthcoming AGM.

The technical situation is that Solartwin is far greener, with independent research showing that it has half the lifetime energy foootprint of conventional solar. It is also safer in that it is low voltage and low pressure. Plus its water storage is safer: complying with HSE guidance on Legionella when most STA installations do not (more on this can of worms later – and in yesterday’s news article). But technical excellence does not matter.

The worrying (for some) commercial situation is that a typical Solartwin solar thermal installation in an existing home takes half the time to install. So some solar installers don’t like it, since as it is seen as a jobs threat. Plus its costs-benefits are attractive. So some existing suppliers (and it is suppliers, rather than installers, who dominate the STA at board level) would be inevitably suffer if our disruptive technology ever gained a fair and level playing field in the solar thermal market.

The following letter, sent today to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which is the currently slammed-shut regulatory gateway to the UK grants scheme, treads warily across the political gunge…

Dear Microgeneration Certification Scheme,

Today David Matthews, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association formally excluded us from marketing our product by denying us a stand at the STA’s AGM and Exhibition. While this issue may not seem, at first glance, to be an obviously MCS-related matter, on closer examination it might be. That is why I am writing to you.

This exclusion almost seems like part of the STA’s retribution for us not complying with their unreasonable demand, one which was delivered to us via MCS – with the explicit threat of exclusion attached, for us to censor (our website, youtube, the lot) of material about Legionella. You will recall that we were required by MCS to remove material poking fun the STA’s claims, claims which we were unable to substantiate (despite a prize worth £2500) that STA were conducting “extensive research and testing” into Legionella. We did not censor.

The STA, by deliberately cutting us out of this important marketing opportunity are damaging our business. They are also operating double standards.

As with their selective application of membership rules against us, the STA are again operating double standards because I understand that other non-STA members promoting non-MCS products are able to book a stand at the STA AGM. We urgently need to be able to recruit solar installers and to persuade them to promote our product. Obviously the STA AGM is a key place to find them. We need to be there.

I think that this is an MCS matter, not only because of the STA’s Chief Executive’s exclusionary threats were formally delivered to us via MCS but also because many MCS solar thermal members are STA members. In the context of MCS’s unreasonable and continued exclusion of our product, I ask you: why should a trade body which operates double standards be playing such a dominant role in any standards-setting process? Let alone at MCS?

Regards, Barry Johnston, MD, Solar Twin Ltd.

So that’s the political stuff. A copy of STA’s courteous “get ****ed” email follows.

Subject: RE: Solartwin –   solar handbook and solar benchmark

Dear Barry

We do not feel that it is appropriate for you to attend or exhibit at the STA Annual Conference or to receive a copy of the Solar Handbook

Thank you for your enquiry

David

David Matthews
Chief Executive
Solar Trade Association
Milton Keynes MK5 8NG

Sweet. I still don’t know what the solar handbook is. Presumably it says that old solar is the bees knees. It was officially launched by STA on 8 September but it was unavailable on google when I last tried. If you have a copy do please send it to info@generationfit.co.uk.

Many thanks for reading. If you are amused by the STA’s bullying conduct, please tell your friends!

If you are concerned about the STA’s conduct, do please tell your elected   MP / AM / MSP/ MEP.

Their contact email is available here.


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