Who’d have thought, something pleasant from Mr Pickles!!!  But we have known for a while that the Government has been keen to encourage a greater focus on the commercial rooftop solar industry, it’s a key part of their ‘solar strategy’ document. No cynics, it doesn’t just say ‘shut ’em down’, though it feels that way at times!

So, the announcement by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, that the permitted development threshold for rooftop solar panels will rise from 50kW to 1MW is confirmation of this stated commitment is welcomed by all. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but it certainly helps.

The Renewable Energy Association rightly observed that the news will make it considerably easier for commercial buildings – including warehouses, factories and offices – across the UK to generate their own electricity. As Dr Nina Skorupska, the REA’s Chief Executive, commented: “The rigidity of the planning system has long been a major barrier to its progress.”

The announcement should also provide a further boost to and already vibrant renewable energy recruitment sector.

One of the areas in which the Hyperion team has been most active recently has been in helping businesses develop their commercial rooftop teams. A number of leading companies including Conergy, Lark Energy, Lightsource and Belectric have all been busy developing their dedicated teams for the commercial rooftop space, as have a majority of larger installers. Indeed manufacturers are firmly focused on this market too.

So, as the full implications of Eric Pickles’ announcement, one of the final gestures of the current Coalition Government, become apparent, it is likely that there will be further recruitment to meet the expected demand from businesses wanting to commission rooftop installations.

The renewables sector has had to overcome some significant hurdles during the lifetime of the Coalition, but good news like this highlights the opportunities that exist for manufacturers and installers alike.

Let’s see what May, and more importantly post May, brings. Hope in renewables springs eternal…..