STALWART OF THE SOLAR INDUSTRY STEPS DOWN AFTER FOUR DECADES
13 February 2024 • Sarah Medcraf
The longest established solar company in Europe, AES Solar, has today (13th February 2024) announced that its founder George Goudsmit is stepping down as Managing Director. Management of the business, which is based in Moray, Scotland, will be taken over by the existing senior leadership team as part of a management buyout which secures the company’s long term future.
Managing Director George Goudsmit said: “When the business started in 1979 it was pioneering the manufacture of solar technology. I was convinced that solar was the logical solution to our energy needs and should be available to all at a reasonable cost. Four decades later, it is satisfying to see that vision become a reality. By focusing solely on solar panels, I grew the business and now our solar installations are on all kinds of buildings from off-grid remote cottages to landmarks like Edinburgh Castle. Interest in solar technology continues to grow and I look forward to watching the new management team take the company forward to the next chapter in renewable energy.”
82 year old Mr Goudsmit took on AES Solar when he moved to Scotland from London in 1989. At that time it was a small heating company which had a sideline in solar panel manufacture. George focused on the solar side of the business, becoming the only UK manufacturer of solar thermal panels and expanding into a range of solar technology. From a modest turnover of £30,000, the business now has a turnover of £10M, with significant growth occurring over the last three years.
Commercial Director Jamie Di Sotto said: “The solar industry has seen many peaks and troughs over the years, so much so that the sector is known as the ‘solar coaster’, and to have steadily grown the business over that time is testament to George’s skill and dedicated belief in renewable energy. As a member of the management team who will take the business forward, I am looking forward to continued growth and exciting new projects. Although he is stepping back from day-to-day business, we are pleased that George will still be involved in AES Solar by remaining actively involved in the renewables industry and exploring innovation in this fast-moving sector.”
As well as Jamie Di Sotto, the other members involved in the management buy out are Technical Director Campbell MacLennan and Finance Director Lynn Davidson. Despite being in his eighties, George Goudsmit has no intention of retiring and will use his extra time to explore new technologies and trends on behalf of AES Solar. In 2021 Mr Goudsmit was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Solar and Storage Awards. As well as noting his infectious enthusiasm and advocacy on behalf of the industry, he was recognised for personally convincing the late Queen Elizabeth II to install solar energy at Balmoral. The company won the royal client by providing Scottish-made products along with an installation that was sympathetic to the historic importance of the Royal Estate.
Mr Goudsmit added: “The solar industry is a fascinating industry to be in and AES Solar has grown from a pioneer of solar thermal into a firmly established provider of solar energy to commercial and domestic customers. I feel that the company has grown in a harmonious way for clients and employees alike and I am looking forward to exploring new innovation in the sector, safe in the knowledge that the business is in good hands. I always predicted great things for this industry and when I reflect on the past thirty plus years, there is so much to be proud of.”
In April 2022, AES Solar was awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its work in sustainable development. It has announced plans to upgrade its headquarters in Forres, Moray and will be developing a vacant brownfield site into additional manufacturing, office and storage space.