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Forres business AES Solar delighted by visit from Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie


By Jonathan Clark

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A FORRES business has been left delighted after receiving a ministerial visit.

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, visited AES Solar on Tuesday, where he was given a tour by managing director George Goudsmit.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (right) visits AES Solar in Forres. He is joined by Campbell MacLennan (centre) and George Goudsmit (left)...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (right) visits AES Solar in Forres. He is joined by Campbell MacLennan (centre) and George Goudsmit (left)...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Mr Harvie, who is the minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, visited as part of a trip across the north-east.

George Goudsmit said: "I was charmed by the interest he showed. It was so refreshing.

"He knew a lot about renewables and was genuinely interested and not a show-off.

"He was very easy-going, felt very much at home and it was really nice to know there are people who are interested.

"When we have more ideas about things like training, for example, I will definitely contact him, that's for sure."

AES Solar's George Goudsmit...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
AES Solar's George Goudsmit...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The meeting was organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with Mr Harvie stopping for a little more than an hour before taking the train through to Aberdeen.

On his visit, he said: "These guys have been at this for a long time and understand how people's perceptions have changed.

"A lot of the stereotypes of us not being able to do solar in Scotland have fallen away now and people are seeing real, real value in solar.

"We learned about solar thermal – using the radiative heat of the sun to heat a hot water system. There's a real advantage in using solar thermal more. It's an affordable way of cutting energy bills.

"There's a chance to save money on the scary power bills that folk are paying at the moment.

"We have to generate from the free energy that is shining on us right now.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (left) visits AES Solar in Forres. He is joined by Campbell MacLennan (centre) and George Goudsmit (right)...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (left) visits AES Solar in Forres. He is joined by Campbell MacLennan (centre) and George Goudsmit (right)...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

"This is a really important moment. It's scary for a lot of people, looking at the reality of high energy bills and the prospect of continued increases.

"But more and more people are seeing that the responses we need to the cost-of-living crisis are the same as those we need to the climate crisis, and the same as we need to energy security issues.

"The same steps will address all three challenges and we need to crack on and get that work done."

Mr Harvie added that there are many careers to be had in the solar energy industry.

"There's huge opportunity," he said. "This challenge is going to be a long-term one but it's one in which there are good, high-quality careers to be had.

"We want to get the benefit of that for Scotland. There's a huge potential for economic value for Scotland and cutting bills at the same time as cutting emissions."



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