Managing Director of Southern Solar, wins Microgen Champion 2012

The Micropower Council Awards, hosted at Microgen 2012 Conference were searching far and wide for those organisations and individuals that have had a unique, positive impact on the Microgen Industry during the last year.

After deliberating on a large number of entries from right across the industry, the independent judging panel reached their conclusions and produced shortlisted entrants for each category at the end of September 2012.

Up against stiff competition in the renewables sector, Howard Johns was declared the 2012 Champion at the black tie awards dinner on October 10th 2012.

Southern Solar
Howard Johns began Southern Solar in 2002 as a birthday present to himself; his vision was to create a decentralised energy revolution, powering communities. The goal was to switch to doing something positive and creative, as opposed to demonstrating against large scale fossil and nuclear power. 10 years on and many happy solar powered communities later he is still at the helm of Southern Solar. Howard has seen Southern Solar through the most turbulent industry times in 2011 and 2012. During this time, Howard Johns was Chairman of the Solar Trade Association (STA) from 2007 to 2012 and was the lead on the “Cut don’t Kill” campaign against Governments handling of the changes to the Feed in Tariff.

Industry Leadership
Howard has risked making himself unpopular in the industry and with Government in order to fight for the industry as a whole; his initiatives led to the Cut don’t Kill campaign of 2011 and 2012.

Howard’s selfless determination to be heard, networking with industry leaders and successful lobbying ensured the changes to the Feed in Tariff took the industry into consideration and the Government were taken to task on acting illegally.

Drawing on immense personal reserves of energy, time and professionalism speaking on behalf of the industry on just about every media outlet from BBC TV and Radio, Channel 4 News and the print press, Howard spread the message of what needed to be done within Government to support a healthy and sustainable solar industry in the UK. He did this as an independent whilst trying to bring together trade bodies and individual companies.

Four years ago Howard founded OVESCo a pioneering local energy co-op project in his home town of Lewes. OVESCo successfully built one of the country’s first community owned PV power stations in 2011, installing 100kW on the roof of the local brewery “Harveys”. Funding projects like this by raising capital from the local community has led the group on to develop  more projects, building a portfolio of community owned micro generation sites.

Through starting Southern Solar, Howard has enabled over 100 employees, past and present the opportunity to grow their skills in the renewables sector, under his vision and direction employees have the opportunity to learn and demonstrate excellence and competence within the renewable industry. This has enabled delivery of thousands of installations at domestic and large scale, with quality and expertise always the priority. Howard’s leadership and dedication to the industry is inspiring, he has spoken internationally on solar and is a frequent voice at trade shows and conferences.  Howard started with the commitment to reduce our communities’ impact on the environment through using solar energy and still works with this primary focus in mind.

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