Residents in Garmouth benefit from free solar-electricity

Thanks to Aberdeenshire social housing landlord Osprey Housing, 11 residents in Garmouth, Moray are now receiving free electricity through solar-electricity-generating (PV) panels installed on their roof.

Eleven, eight panel (2kWp) solar PV systems were fitted, on the most southerly facing roof of each home. The works were completed by Brechin based installer Forster Energy, within a week, minimising any disruption to the residents.

A power diverter was also fitted, meaning that any solar-generated-electricity not used by the resident, is diverted to heat their hot water tank, further reducing the amount of electricity they need to buy-in from their energy supplier during the day. “This is what really sold it to us”, explained Osprey Housing Energy Support Officer, Jane McWhirr, “as it means that all tenants will benefit, regardless of whether or not they are at home during the day. It was an ideal solution for these properties, which due to being off the gas grid, tend to have high electricity bills.”

In order to help residents get the most out of the free electricity generated by the panels on their roof, Forster provided an eight page guide full of useful tips. The eight panel systems could save residents as much as £200, depending on how much electricity they use during day-light hours. “One tenant said her weekly spend on electricity has already gone down from £20 to £15.”

“It’s brilliant to hear that our tenants are already seeing the benefit of the new PV systems, and the improvement in the energy efficiency rating has meant that these homes are now meeting EESSH (Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing). Following the success of this, our first programme of PV, we are now considering rolling out PV programmes across other schemes.”

“We were delighted to be selected to work on this project, and it was really pleasing to receive such positive feedback from Osprey and their tenants” said Forster Energy Managing Director, Steve Scott. “PV provides a great solution for meeting the EESSH and tacking fuel poverty. It is cost effective and less intrusive than other measures and can have a significant impact on the Energy Efficiency ratings of homes and other buildings”.

The project was delivered through the newly established Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) Energy Efficiency & Refurbishment framework. “We are really pleased with how this project was successfully delivered, it’s a great example of our Energy Efficiency & Refurbishment framework working well. Forster demonstrate the excellence we strive for at SPA, they have effectively safeguarded our client and demonstrate a suitable opportunity to procure an energy efficiency solution,” said Clive Feeney, Head of SPA Operations.

Forster welcomes twelve new roofing apprentices

Earlier this week, Forster Roofing welcomed 12 new apprentices to their industry leading Skills Academy. The apprentices, who come from all over Scotland, include the company’s first female roofing apprentice, Adelle Martin from Denny.

“We need to build more homes in Scotland, to meet an increasing demand, but the industry wide skills shortage presents the greatest challenge to achieving growth” commented Forster Construction Director, Neil McIvor. “At Forster, we have a clear vision to create our own workforce that are trained to the Forster Standard, and taught to work the Forster way”.

The two year Modern Apprenticeship in Roof Tiling for New Build combines on-the-job structured learning, with contextualised off-site training at Forster’s own Skills Academy in Brechin. “The qualification was designed specifically to teach and nurture the skills required for roofing new homes in Scotland,” explained Human Resources Director Maureen Douglas, “and is supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC).”

“Our latest intake of roofing apprentices has grown our total number to 23, all of which have been recruited within the last two years. Looking ahead, we intend to take on and train six new apprentices every year, and we’ve already started recruiting for our 2017 intake.”

New apprentice, Adelle Martin explained “The Forster apprenticeship programme provides a great opportunity to get into construction, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting different people and working as part of a squad.” Ross Henderson, who is also one of the recent in-take of apprentices said “I’ve been interested in working in the construction industry for quite a while. Even before joining the Forster apprenticeship programme, I completed a general construction course at college. My mentor Martin Quinn has been great, and I’ve really enjoyed learning from him.”

The apprentices are spending the first week (of their ten off-site residential training weeks) receiving training in Health and Safety Awareness and Emergency First Aid and an induction from CITB.

For further details visit

Forster-REI partnership offers fully funded solar option

Forster Energy recently partnered with solar investment experts Renewable Energy Investments (REI) to offer Scottish businesses, public sector, commercial landlords and community groups an alternative way to fund clean energy generation projects, secure a reduced electricity tariff and reduce carbon emissions.

The partnership provides access to 100% funding for solar PV projects through a power purchase agreement (PPA). In return for the leasing of the airspace above their roof, organisations, individuals and community groups will receive a discounted rate on the electricity produced by the solar PV system for 25 years, guaranteed only to rise by RPI.

“We are delighted to be working with Forster Energy, to provide their clients with an attractive and secure funding option,” said REI Managing Director, Simon Booth.

Forster Energy Managing Director, Steve Scott explained “this partnership will make solar more widely accessible, particularly for those with a high energy consumption and whom funding has been a barrier to deployment”.

Clean, self-generated solar electricity not only significantly reduces energy costs, but helps commercial buildings comply with Section 63 of The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

For further details visit

Forster quality management system hits the mark

ISO 9001Forster Group quality management system (QMS) was recently certified by Ocean Certification as being compliant with the International Standard EN ISO 9001:2015.

The roofing and solar installation business, who cover one in five of Scotland’s new homes, passed with zero non-conformities. The Ocean Certification assessor, David Robinson was extremely complimentary and highlighted several areas of best practice in his assessment report. “The company demonstrated a strong commitment, led from the top, to continual improvement of the management system, the business and the measures it uses to evaluate performance. This is to be commended,” said David.

“Interviews with senior staff including Chairman, John Forster and Managing Director, Steve Scott confirmed a focus on ensuring that issues and activities regarded as core to the “Forster Approach” were encompassed in their QMS. This emanated from the top, and leadership was clearly demonstrated. There is an excellent understanding of the environment within which the company operates – active involvement with the NHBC, the Scottish House Builder Health & Safety Forum, the CITB and the development of a comprehensive apprenticeship programme demonstrates this. Improvements over a number of years have led to Forster being recognised as a leader in their field”.

“The success of the audit is testimony to the work put in across all our teams over many years,” explained Forster Human Resources Director, Maureen Douglas. “ISO 9001 is certainly the standard to have and next year we intend to achieve the equivalent ISO standard in safety and environmental management”.

Solar PV as the solution for EESSH

Over the spring and summer months Forster delivered a series of twelve workshops for over forty Scottish social housing landlords. The well-received workshop explored the opportunity that solar PV presents in meeting the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) and tacking fuel poverty.

“The workshop proved extremely popular and led to much constructive discussion on the role that PV can play in meeting EESSH and energy future proofing social homes” explained Forster’s Technical Manager Alan Collins.

Ian Byers, Housing Manager for Glen Housing Association, who arranged a workshop session for a number of Fife based housing associations commented “The session was attended by staff involved with the delivery of energy efficiency measures as well as those with less experience in this area, and provided useful information on the EESSH targets and how solar PV provides a cost effective solution. We have since followed up with a small feasibility study and again the information provided by Forster has been very helpful in our considerations on energy efficiency improvements for our housing stock”.

EESSH was launched in March 2014 with the objective of improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s social housing stock. The standard sets a minimum energy efficiency (EE) rating for each social home (see table below), for landlords to achieve before the end of 2020.

EESSH minimum EE ratings

The rating depends upon the dwelling type and the fuel type used to heat it. EESSH will mean that no social home will be lower than a ‘C’ or ‘D’ rating, resulting in warmer homes, lower fuel consumption, and subsequently, lower fuel bills and less tenants in fuel poverty. Social housing is already significantly more energy efficient than private rented or owner occupied homes and as at 1st April 2015, 64% of social homes were already meeting EESSH, This leavs 218,000 homes requiring energy efficient measures to meet the standard.

Solar PV provides the ideal solution to EESSH. It is cost effective and less intrusive than other measures, like external or internal wall insulation and as the table below shows it can have a significant impact on EE ratings.

Impact of PV on EE ratings

Click here to download a sample of the 35 slide presentation and here to download a three page ‘Meeting EESSH with solar’ summary from the Solar Trade Association or contact us directly to request a workshop.

A review of EESSH is planned in 2017. “It will consider the setting of longer term milestones in line with the requirements of the 2050 Climate Change target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions against the 1990 baseline”. Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing 

New SPA Energy Efficiency Framework

SPAForster was recently appointed onto the Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) new ‘Energy Efficiency and Refurbishment’ framework. Forster will service workstream 2 of the SPA Energy Efficiency and Refurbishment (N7) framework, which runs until May 2020.

The OJEU compliant framework is targeted at those responsible for procuring energy efficiency measures for Scottish social housing and public buildings. This workstream allows SPA partner members to appoint Forster to deliver solar PV retrofit programmes.

“We are delighted to have been appointed on to this Framework and see it as a great opportunity for Scottish social landlords and public bodies to embrace the opportunity that solar presents in achieving EESSH and tackling fuel poverty”, explained Forster Managing Director, Steve Scott.

Click here to download a two page summary of the framework agreement and here to download the 11 page framework guide.

The Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) is a new approach for procurement in Scotland, created for organisations that buy products and services for the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings. It is backed by LHC, one of the leading and most respected procurement organisations in the UK. SPA frameworks are available to all organisations in Scotland that are fully or part publicly funded.

Events: March

March eventsAn overview to our events in March.

Scottish Renewables Annual Conference- Defining the Future of Renewable Energy in Scotland: 1st-2nd March, Edinburgh

We will be attending the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference, to discuss the future of renewable energy in Scotland. Come to see our Chairman John Forster speak as part of a panel on Future for Established Technologies from 11.30am – 12.40pm.

Deployment has accelerated and costs have declined in onshore wind and solar, with talk increasingly of being subsidy-free in the 2020s; but at what scale, where, and who will be building?  How can government policy help achieve that, and where does that leave the future for other established technologies, such as hydro?

Visit to find out more.

EcoBuild: 8th – 10th March, London

We will be exhibiting on stand E3180 at EcoBuild, at the UK’s leading exhibition and conference for the construction and energy market, with over 44,000 industry professionals in attendance.

Visit to find out more.

Solar Power Portal Roadshow Event: 17th March, Edinburgh

The Solar Power Portal roadshow events are free, technology agnostic, half day events that provide a concise and educational experience targeting installers, local councils, and commercial energy buyers, with view of enabling networking and knowledge exchange that will ultimately benefit everyone involved. The goal is to bring as many installers, local business and councils together in order to facilitate discussion and help the industry grow.

John Forster will be chairing the Edinburgh event and speaking on the day.

Visit to find out more.

Solar in Scotland: The Future and the opportunity: 15th March, Edinburgh

Chaired by John Forster the Solar Trade Association event will cover the full range of industry sectors, exploring the future and opportunities for expanding solar’s share in the energy mix within Scotland’s 100% renewable target. Importantly, each speaker will focus on one or more of the STA’s key asks of the Scottish Government, and our keynote speaker Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP will present his vision for renewables.
STA Scotland is recommending that Scotland sets a goal of deploying 2GW of solar in Scotland by 2020, a tenfold increase from today. Despite the huge challenges from recent UK policy changes, including reductions to the Feed-in-Tariff and early closure of the Renewables Obligation, this ambitious target can still be achieved. Attend our event, meet the industry and discover the opportunities, and together we can overcome the barriers to growth.

Visit find out more.

Scotland Food & Drink AGM and Conference: 17th March, Edinburgh

We will be exhibiting at the Scotland Food & Drink conference to discuss benefits of solar to those in the industry.  The event will look at the Scottish food and drink industry in 2030, what it could look like by then and what we need to do to achieve success over the next 10-15 years. A top line-up of speakers will look at the latest trends in the sector, how SF&D should support industry growth. A panel of both key retail and foodservice buyers and some leading CEOs from our manufacturing sector.

Visit to find out more.


Better Business, Better Scotland

“Scottish businesses must be motivated by more than the financial bottom line if they are to help build a fairer and greener Scotland.”

This is the conclusion of the report “Better Business” that has been released by Social Value Lab on business practices in Scotland. The research set out to answer the following questions and explore the barriers so many businesses face in changing the corporate behaviour:

The results were very encouraging, showing that there is an appetite from Scottish businesses to play a role in creating a fairer and greener Scotland. Some of the most promising responses include 85% of businesses reporting that community, social and environmental issues as either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important to them and nine in ten companies (89%) felt they were delivering on their social and environmental responsibilities.

However, it also found barriers that business face, including pressures caused by business size with just 15% of small companies reported to fully support employee volunteering, 22% among mid-sized companies and a huge gap to 51% among large companies. There was also a clear issue with equality for women with, only 13% of all board posts held by women and over half (56%) of the firms with none at all. Just 4% of CEOs are women.

This report is hugely important to us at Forster Group, not only because we try to lead by example in environmental and social responsibility, but we also strive to see this culture extend out into our industry and wider community. We began in the construction industry 26 years ago, and since taking on our first trainee in 1990, we haven’t stopped seeing the value in investing in the workforce of the future.


We invested in our business early, building lasting relationships from the beginning with local schools and colleges, we have collaborated on many initiatives to invest in new skills for young people. In 2014 this eventually led to the creation of our Forster Skills Academy, a custom-designed training centre delivering innovative Modern Apprenticeship qualifications for people looking to learn a trade in roofing. We have so far taken on 12 new apprentices and will continue to take on a further 12 into 2016.

Investing in our people has served us well for the future, ensuring an injection of new ideas and fresh thinking in the business, the development of a pipeline of talent, as well as improved capacity to react to customer demand. Last year we were accredited as one of the first wave of Investors in Young People employers in Scotland and 32% of our workforce are aged under 25 years old.

Our people are our business, so working innovatively, collaboratively and investing in the future of our industry are key to staying one step ahead and the continued success of any business.

We have joined the 5% club

This year we have joined The 5% Club, which promotes the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce. Faced with the shortage of skilled workers in the industry we want to support our commitment to developing young people within the industry, alongside our own initiatives with the Forster Skills Academy and our investment in young people in-house.

The club supports the employment of at least 5% young people on a workforce, and we have already excelled employing 11%. This is set to grow over the course of 2016 as we continue to invest in our people ensuring an injection of new ideas and fresh thinking in the business and the development of a pipeline of talent, as well as improved capacity to react to customer demand.

Read more about The 5% Club or contact us to find out more.


New apprentices join Forster

We were joined by Margo Williamson, Strategic Director at Angus Council, to welcome six new apprentices to our Skills Academy in Brechin. The apprentices have begun their first year of the newly created Modern Apprenticeship (NVQ) qualification in roofing, designed specifically for new-build housing.

Maureen Douglas, our Group HR Director said:

“To address the shortage of suitably skilled trades, we created the specialist modern apprenticeship with other roofing contractors supported by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, CITB and South Lanarkshire College. We deliver the specialist apprenticeship from our own Skills Academy in two week residential blocks.  This allows our full-time trainer to embed the Forster standards of workmanship and enable the apprentices to complete their off-site training together. The programme has already been a resounding success and is being developed further to enable the up skilling and re-skilling of experienced workers.”

Margo Williamson, who oversees ‘schools and learning’ at Angus Council, met with the six new apprentices who are currently working at Forster’s Brechin based office with trainer Lindsay Kemp, who has been roofing Scottish homes for over 25 years.

The Angus Council Strategic Director said:

Angus is home to so many ambitious young people and I was delighted to meet some of these young people at the skills academy who told me how eager they are to learn new skills that will help them with their future careers. I’d like to wish them good luck and I look forward to hearing more from the group as they progress through their apprenticeship and beyond.

“We are committed to supporting these ambitions and recently we launched the Angus Shared Apprenticeship Programme which aims to address the challenges faced by the construction sector. Our new approach to learning and training for our young people in Angus aims to assist economic activity, improve skill levels, increase job satisfaction and employment.”

New apprentice, Ryan Beaton, from Glenrothes said:

“I feel incredibly lucky to be on the Forster programme as I know a lot of young people are looking for training and skills to secure work. I’ve not seen a level of training like this anywhere else, as the apprenticeship offers both on-site work and training in a workshop with a one-to-one mentor. You get time to ask questions and work to your own pace as you learn, then put your new skills to practice on-site.”

This year Forster Roofing has taken on a total of 12 Modern Apprentices through the newly built Academy that launched in May 2015. By the end of 2016 Forster Roofing Skills Academy aims to have taken on 24 apprentices, to ensure that the business continues to develop talent with the right skills and attitudes for the construction industry.

If you are interested in finding out more contact us. 

01356 628 560

Discussing the future of renewables in Scotland at Scotland Build 2015

Next week we will be in Glasgow for Scotland Build 2015 – a free to attend construction expo at the SECC.  At the expo our Chairman John, will be speaking as part of a panel, discussing “Building to enable Scotland’s renewable energy ambitions” alongside Ian Cuthbert of the Energy Saving Trust, Sepi Golzari-Munro from EG3 and Ken Ross OBE from Ross Development & Renewables.

With the looming subsidy changes due to be announced, discussing the future of solar in Scotland will be hugely important to those involved in the renewable industry. We are going to be looking at when and how renewable energy technologies will become part of everyday building and the issues the industry will face.

The panel discussion will take place on Thursday 26th November at 3.40pm and is free to attend. You can register online here. 

If you’re unable to make the panel discussion, our team will also be on-site at stand E39, showcasing the benefits of the Forster (integrated) roof and solar solution.

For more information contact us.

01356 628 560

Our integrated solar approach recognised at roofing awards

We are delighted to have picked up the ‘Solar’ award at the National Federation Roofing Contractor’s (NFRC) annual Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year Awards, for integrated roofing and solar works at Bellway Homes’, Cowdenbeath development.

Our project was recognised by the judges for its pioneering approach to integrating traditional roof tiling with in-roof solar Photovoltaic (PV) installation services at the 49 plot social housing development. The electricity generated by each solar array is being fed directly into tenant’s homes, reducing their requirement to buy in electricity from the grid, thereby empowering them to take greater control of their energy bills.

Forster Technical Manager, Alan Collins collected the award at a special luncheon hosted by BBC Scotland News presenter and reporter, Catriona Shearer at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. The award is Forster’s seventh Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year Award in six years, with previous award winning projects including the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, Fife Housing Innovation Showcase and Barratt Homes Evolution development in Aberdeen.

Forster Roofing Managing Director Steve Scott said: “We are delighted to pick up this award as it highlights the industry’s recognition of the huge benefits created by combining solar with roofing works. We are seeing demand for our integrated roofing and solar offer grow, as more and more developers recognise solar as a key measure in achieving the latest stepped change in the Scottish Low Carbon Building Standards. We envisage a not too distant future where solar PV will be installed on every new build home.”

The NFRC Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year awards recognise and reward outstanding standards of workmanship and technical expertise in the roofing industry within Scotland.

Read about other integrated projects, like the Commonwealth Games Athelete’s Village.

What do DECC changes mean for Scottish businesses?

Our Chairman, John Forster, talks about how Scottish businesses will be affected by the proposed DECC changes to the Feed-in Tariff:

In only a few short months the solar industry has gone from being the rising star of the renewables revolution to a sector under incredible pressure.

Following the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) planned review of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), a consultation was launched in August setting out plans to slash the sub 10kW solar tariff by an astonishing 87% and stripping back the sub 50kW tariff (popular with many businesses) by almost 70% from January 2016. The ability to pre-register or lock into a tariff level will also be removed, from 2016.

The UK government’s proposed cuts threaten to dismantle all the work invested in creating confidence and stability for the industry and investors, which have driven growth in Scotland’s economy.

What does this mean for Scottish businesses?

With over 5GW of on-shore wind and barely 200MW of installed solar it is clear that solar combined with a growing energy storage industry can provide the necessary balance to help meet The Scottish Government’s renewable electricity aspirations.

It is clear that those installing solar in 2015 before the cuts, will benefit from the greatest return on their investment if they act now.

However from 2016 there is still hope for the future of solar. After the massive cuts to the FiT in 2011, we saw a 70 per cent fall in the cost of solar panels. And again we expect a similar outcome, as these final cuts are implemented. This could mean that a high energy using business could still see a 15 per cent+ annual return on their investment.

A further drop in costs will follow the planned removal of the Minimum Import Price (MIP) imposed on Chinese manufactured panels in 2013 which could well bring a further 25 per cent reduction in the price of panels.

With the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting that solar could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, we can be confident that irrespective of the Government cuts, solar will play an increasingly significant role in Scotland’s energy sector.

To speak to us about how to benefit from solar and how this will affect your business contact me on

DECC review of the Feed-in Tariff scheme

Our Chairman, John Forster, comments on the proposed DECC changes to the Feed-in Tariff:

On Thursday 27th August 2015, DECC announced plans to drastically cut subsidies through the Feed-in Tariff scheme which will have damaging effects on the solar industry. However in Scotland there remains strong support politically and commercially and there is still hope for solar to thrive.

The proposed Feed-in Tariff (FiT) reduction is unnecessary, unjustifiable, unmanageable and ultimately destructive for Scotland’s emerging solar industry.

Earlier this year in March, we launched STA Scotland, due to the growing interest from industry and the Scottish Government. There are approximately 500 solar related jobs in Scotland, and with solar set to play a significant part in meeting the Scottish Government’s 2020, 100% renewable electricity target we had predicted that the Scottish solar industry would add a further 3,000 jobs over the next five years. Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has already highlighted that Scotland is at the forefront of the renewables industry and that solar needs to play a key role in meeting this target.

This slashing of support in January 2016, set out in the FiT review, is completely unnecessary. When the Solar Trade Association (STA) published its Solar Independence Plan (SIP) to the new Government in June this year, it set out the solar industry’s own objective to become subsidy free by 2020. The SIP, sets out in detail how this could be achieved through a predictable and progressive plan. A plan that would deliver the essential confidence and stability for industry and investors, which in turn drives the growth, innovation and efficiency that leads to subsidy free solar.

The potential damage to our industry is completely unjustifiable. As we saw in the recent consultations announced by the UK government, for the removal of pre-accreditation and early closure of the Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme, the FiT review wrongly attributes projected overspend within the Levy Control Framework (LCF) to the solar industry.

Solar continues to be the most popular source of energy with more than 80% of the British public supporting solar power. The estimated cost of FiT solar on consumer energy bills this year (2015/16) is £7, with 80% of that money being spent on the solar FiT, attributable to domestic solar systems installed before 2011. Solar costs have fallen by 70% in the last five years making solar an increasingly cost effective renewable technology. An extra £1.70 on energy bills between now and 2020 would deliver over one million more solar homes by 2020 and achieve subsidy free, domestic, roof top solar. It will not only provide lower cost energy, but significantly reduce fuel poverty in Scotland.

The solar industry’s SIP shows how the UK’s solar ambition for 2020 could be doubled to 25GW (with current deployment at approximately 8GW) for just £13 on annual household bills in 2020. The Government’s stated justification for these destructive cuts, is the desire to reduce the impact on household energy bills, whereas the true costs demonstrate that this is no reason for abandoning our solar industry.

The Government has already seen the impact of sudden drastic cuts in 2011, and the results were unmanageable. The huge surge in demand that is the likely outcome of the FiT review, will deliver the worst possible scenario for solar installers and their customers. For an industry that has taken three years to rebuild itself from the previous cuts, there simply isn’t the capacity to deal with the inevitable demand. The proposals will lead to the cramming of installs into a diminishing window of time that includes a major holiday period and winter weather, putting installers at risk under time pressures to ensure customers don’t lose out on the higher tariff before January.

Prior to the drastic FiT cuts in 2011, registered installer business numbers surged to over 8,000, before plunging to around 2,000. The UK industry now supports around 34,000 jobs and yet the inevitable result of these astonishing proposed cuts in January 2016 could lead to the ultimate destruction of a large part of our industry. We are in touching distance of solar becoming subsidy free over the next five years. Just as the industry requires stability to reach its goal the DECC changes are causing unnecessary disruption and uncertainty to this being achieved.

The plans seem short sighted when increasing UK deployment will reduce carbon emissions, improve the UK’s energy security, reduce our trade deficit, provide significant new employment and contain the rising costs of energy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is predicting that solar could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050. India and China alone have committed to the install of 100GW each in the next few years. And just as British solar companies, with the benefit of their home grown expertise, have started to export their services in these rapidly expanding global market places, their foundations are set to be eroded by poorly judged Government policies.

To speak to us about how this will affect your business get in touch direct at

Solar Independence Plan

Solar power has seen spectacular growth in Britain and around the world over the last five years. It now provides 1.5% of the UK’s electricity, supporting over 30,000 jobs across the country (including the supply chain). Prices have tumbled rapidly, allowing the Government to cut subsidies by about two-thirds during the lifetime of the last Parliament.

DECC has found that solar consistently has strong public support out of the renewable mix, year on year.

The Solar Trade Association recently published its ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’, setting out how the new Government can remove the need for subsidies completely as solar prices fall and reach parity by 2020.

By adopting our 25GW ambition, solar could provide:

Solar power is a breakthrough technology that is globally predicted to be the cheapest energy source by 2025 and the largest by 2050. Increasing its UK deployment will reduce carbon emissions, improve the UK’s energy security, reduce our trade deficit, provide significant new employment and help to contain the rising costs of energy.

We strongly recommend establishing a UK Government-industry task force to plan for solar’s transition to grid parity. Subsidy-free solar is tantalisingly close – we are confident that adoption of our Solar Independence Plan can make it one of the new Government’s significant achievements.

Read the full plan here.

Contact us to find out more here.

Cronan Farm gets a solar boost

On Friday 3rd July, we welcomed, Murdo Fraser MSP to Cronan Farm, in Perthshire to visit one of our largest solar installations and speak to our team about the benefits for agricultural businesses.

Murdo Fraser MSP said,

“The solar industry provides a fantastic source of clean, low cost energy that farms like this can benefit from. Today was a great opportunity to see first-hand these benefits and meet those involved.”

Cronan Farm is home to MJ & J McLaren broccoli and potato enterprise, which installed a 720 panel solar array to provide power for the farm cold stores. The installation exemplifies the appetite for solar amongst Scottish farmers, keen to reduce their energy costs by generating their own cheaper and cleaner electricity.

Scotland is already a strong advocate of solar with 35,000 homes and 600 businesses currently benefitting from solar technology.

To find out more about benefits of solar for your business, contact us here.

Forster Group Launch New Integrated Website

As Forster prepare to celebrate 25-years of roofing Scottish homes, the market leading roofing and solar services provider is also embracing a new modern website, which brings together the company’s core roofing and energy businesses into a single site.

The site provides information for house builders, public sector and community bodies, social housing landlords, farmers and commercial landlords and tenants interested in finding out about the exciting benefits of installing solar. Visitors to the site can browse through case studies, showcasing the companies work for existing clients in these sectors, search and apply for jobs as well as stay up-to-date with the businesses activities and industry news.

“As we prepare to celebrate a significant landmark in our history, it’s a great time to be launching a new, modern website, which reflects our passionate and aspirational approach.. The new site communicates our commitment to delivering excellence in every area of our business” explained Marketing Executive, Peter Barrow. “It is a central tool in communicating the key benefits of solar as well as our core service offerings, particularly our integrated solar roofing service.”

Denvir Marketing, the agency which project managed the development of the site, said it was an exciting time for Forster Group and Denvir Marketing. Charlotte Jordan, Marketing Manager at Denvir Marketing, said:

“This fresh, clean and contemporary website reflects Forster Group’s energy, drive and enthusiasm for solar and roofing. The advances being made in the solar industry are phenomenal and we feel this new website will enable Forster Group to maintain its position as the number one roofing, solar and integrated solar business in Scotland.”

Forster Roofing Invests in Next Generation

Scotland’s leading roofing and roof-integrated solar contractor, Forster Roofing, has launched its own in-house Skills Academy to train the next generation and directly tackle the challenge faced by the construction industry’s skills shortage.

Forster Roofing, which is responsible for roofing one in five of Scotland’s new homes and is widely recognised for its commitment to developing young people, has recently invested in a new custom designed Skills Academy, which was opened to the first group of apprentices last month.

The Forster Academy, which is located in Brechin, Angus, is delivering a Modern Apprenticeship (NVQ) qualification in roofing, designed specifically for new-build housing. The two year integrated training programme supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC), combines on the job structured learning with contextualised off-site training.

“We are directly addressing the acute skills shortage in the construction industry by recruiting new entrants, up-skilling and qualifying our existing workforce,” explained Forster Group Chairman, John Forster.

“We recognise that our future success is dependent on investing in the skills of both our current and potential future employees. Next month we will be celebrating 25 years of delivering our roofing service to the Scottish house build market, and we see our new Skills Academy as a key part of our future.”

Forster Human Resources Director, Maureen Douglas said,

“We are committed to taking on 24 apprentices over the next four years and are also preparing to launch a new specialist up-skilling programme which will re-qualify our entire workforce of 80 roofers to the ‘Forster Standard’.”

“The Forster apprenticeship programme works well because it covers such a wide range of roofing skills, including solar installation,” said Mark Murphy from Irvine, one of the current group of apprentices. “It trains us to deliver to the ‘Forster Standard’, giving us confidence that we’re working the smartest way.”

“It helps us become comfortable working with different products, preparing us to deal with the challenges we will face on-site,” added another apprentice, Jordan Boyle from Falkirk. “We also get to learn about other areas of the business including Purchasing and Surveying, helping us understand how projects come together.”

Forster Trainer, Lindsay Kemp has been roofing Scottish homes for over 25 years. “This new programme provides a fantastic opportunity for young people, equipping them with the necessary skills to make a successful career in roofing,” he commented. “I’m really enjoying the opportunity to train the next generation, driving forward industry quality and safety standards.”

Committed to excellence, Forster continues to lead the way in driving up standards of best practice in roofing. Construction Director Neil McIvor said: “We have developed our own ‘Forster Standard’. By wrapping up all the various industry standards and best practices into a single document, we have established a benchmark for all our roofs, setting the quality standard for our industry.”

Forster Energy All Set for UK’s Largest Renewable Energy Showcase

Leading provider of roof-top and free-standing solar photovoltaics in Scotland, Forster Energy, is all set for this year’s All-Energy Exhibition and Conference.

The event, which is the UK’s largest renewable energy showcase, takes place at the SECC, Glasgow on May 6 and 7.

Forster Energy will again be sharing a stand H30 with Angus Council where they will be showcasing their popular in-roof solar display. Their team of experts will be on hand to discuss the fantastic opportunity that solar presents for house builders, public sector and community bodies, social housing landlords, farmers and commercial landlords and tenants.

STA Scotland are hosting a networking breakfast, sponsored by Forster Energy at Sunamp’s stand B21 on Thursday May 7 between 9:30 and 10:30.  All are welcome to join us for a bacon bap, croissant or a healthy fruit platter to celebrate the recent launch of STA Scotland and to network with solar industry professionals.

All Energy 2015 looks to build on the success of previous years and is this year being held in Glasgow for the first time, following 10 years in Aberdeen.

With more than 450 exhibition stands and over 120 hours of presentations, delivered by 440 industry expert speakers – All-Energy 2015 is the place to be to for all with an interest in renewables. Come along and explore new opportunities, forge deals and participate in unrivalled networking, at this free to-attend event.

Forster Energy at STA Commercial Rooftop Event: Delivering Growth

A new DECC report, which classifies solar PV as ‘a strong economic booster’, highlights the momentous growth in the sector in the last five years. The current UK total installed capacity sits at 5GW, rising from a meagre 33MW in 2010. Although the majority of installations to date have been in the domestic retro-fit and large-scale free standing markets, the commercial roof-top market is set to be the new growth area for the sector. Awareness of the benefits of self generated electricity, from a commercial perspective is rising. At the same time key barriers including planning constraints, transferability and landlord-tenant issues are being resolved.

Forster Group Chairman and newly appointed Chair of STA Scotland, John Forster will be speaking in London this Wednesday (1st April) as part of The Solar Trade Association’s Commercial Rooftop Event: Delivering Growth. The event will explore how installers have overcome the barriers and created opportunities for growth in the new build, roof integrated and retro-fit commercial markets. John will be speaking on the role of integrated solar and touch on how new energy standards in Scotland will lead to increased deployment, particularly in the house build and social housing sectors.

John is part of a host of experienced industry speakers, who will present delegates with tools to deliver growth across the commercial rooftop market.
To find out more about the event click here.

UPDATE: 6 April 2015

John’s presentation about roof integrated solar in Scotland can be viewed below.

Forster Group HR Director named on new CITB Board

Forster Group HR Director, Maureen Douglas was appointed by Nick Boles, Minister of State for Skills and Equalities on the CITB’s new Board of Trustees. The new UK construction training board works with businesses and employers across the country to address the skills challenges faced within the sector.

Maureen has extensive experience in the construction industry spanning a decade, at the young age of 36. Her role as Forster HR Director comprises of leading the strategy from board level, pioneering the Group’s organisational development, skills and training and health and safety programmes.

“I am delighted to have been invited to join the board and work with the new team to provide effective outcomes for the construction industry during an exciting period of growth,” said Maureen. “Through my experience and passion for skills development, I will strive to provide an invaluable link to the board and the industry”.

During her time with Forster, Maureen has demonstrated considerable ability to create and implement bespoke business strategies and HR solutions providing strong leadership both within the business and the wider industry. This has been key to the business’ wider growth strategy which has seen the Group continue to drive efficiency, perform successfully year on year and move into new markets.

Due to the shortage of skills in the industry, Maureen’s major focus for 2014 was setting up a new roofing Skills Academy for launch in 2015. The academy is a custom designed centre delivering specialist modern apprenticeship qualifications, geared specifically for new-build housing and solar PV. This will help to address the acute skills shortage in the construction industry recruiting new entrants, up skilling and qualifying the existing workforce. It aims to raise current standards whilst enriching and growing the construction talent pool, ensuring best practice and driving innovation.

The new CITB board will meet in London for the first time this month.

Forster Energy Announced as NFU Scotland PV Affinity Partner

We are delighted to announce that we have entered into an Affinity Partnership with NFU Scotland.

The partnership now means that NFU Scotland members, in addition to taking control of their energy costs, can benefit from saving over £2,000 on PV packages. This offer includes free web based monitoring and a special extended maintenance/review package. In addition, a new telephone consultation service has been launched to provide advice to NFU Scotland members who already have PV systems installed.

“We are delighted to be working with Forster Energy to raise awareness of the benefits of solar PV in helping our 8,500 members take control of their electricity costs” explained Colin Gordon from NFU Scotland.

“Our partnership with NFU Scotland strengthens our relationship with the farming sector”, said Forster Group Chairman John Forster. “We recognise that farmers and other businesses, particularly those with a high electricity use, are being increasingly impacted by rising energy costs. Through this partnership we will be able to empower more farmers to generate their own supply of clean electricity and therefore take greater control over their energy costs“.

To find out more about Forster’s PV service to farmers click here.

Back to Back NFRC Solar Awards for Forster Roofing

For the second successive year Forster Roofing picked up the NFRC Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year Award for Solar at a special luncheon held at the Trades Hall of Glasgow earlier today.

This award was Forster’s sixth Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year Award in five years, following previous successes in the Services to the Community, Roof Tiling, Roof Slating and Solar categories. At last year’s event Forster picked up the Solar award for its involvement with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Athletes Village and in 2012 scooped the Sustainable award for its involvement with the Fife Housing Innovation Showcase.

This year’s winning project involved the installation of Solar Century’s C21e solar tiles in conjunction with roof tiling works for Barratt Homes, at its Evolution development in Aberdeen. The well situated city centre development of executive apartments presented Forster’s with the perfect opportunity to showcase its skills in combining roofing and PV installation services. It also shows how PV, particularly in-roof systems can present a relatively simple measure in helping meet new build carbon reduction targets. 454 C21e PV tiles were fitted on five of the sites 13 flatted blocks. This included a 172 tile (8.6kWp) and 144 tile (7.18kWp) array on the two prominent entry blocks.

Forster have worked with Barratt Homes – one of the UK’s largest house builders for over 20 years and have also combined its roof tiling and fully integrated PV installation service at Barratt’s Devona Gate, Dyce and Pinefields, Inverness developments.

Forster Roofing, Managing Director Steve Scott who collected the award from TV Presenter, Kaye Adams said “back to back Solar awards is a fantastic achievement and recognises our commitment to excellence and innovation in combining our roofing and solar PV services with the latest integrated PV products”.

Covering 1 in 5 of all new homes in Scotland, Forster has a proven track record built on 25 years of leading best practice in roofing. Committed to excellence Forster leads the way in new home and commercial solar PV delivery through its integrated service offering – from careful product specification and design right through to personable installation and after care.

The NFRC Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year awards recognise and reward outstanding standards of workmanship and technical expertise in the roofing industry within Scotland.

House Builder Prefers Integratred Roof PV

Scottish house builder Stephen have selected Forster Energy’s Redland integrated PV tiles for their latest development of 9 homes, in the picturesque village of Kinnesswood.  Forster have installed the PV roof tiles in conjunction with Redland Mockbond Mini Stonewold roof tiles. “Integrated PV was selected over on-top panels because of their superior finished appearance and their seamless integration with the roof tiles.

Redland were selected as their Integrated PV system is MCS-accredited and we were also able to use our current preferred roofing contractor, Forster’s, as they are an MCS-accredited installer for the Redland system”, explained Stephen’s Construction Manager Ron Sutherland.

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