“I want to tackle the way energy is viewed and used at a local community level”, Kerry Burns.
What is your job about?
Your Power UK is an expert in solar PV and aims to provide the very best solar installation services to the construction, domestic, community, agricultural, commercial and public sectors. The Solar City Initiative exists to drive an increase in uptake, acceptance and use of solar energy as a primary form of generating power. We work both with Bristol and the wider region, through Bristol Solar City and West of England Solar City, the only difference is the areas.
What issues do you address?
- We were set up to retain as many Bristol pounds and jobs in the local economy, I saw a lot of work outsourced out of the local region.
- We want to tackle the way energy is viewed and used at a local community level.
- We want to get people to see what we are doing as not eco bling, but something which should be happening in the background – business as usual.
What moved you to take action?
I think a big part of it was shame. I visited Freiburg in 2000, it is the worlds solar capital, that 1 city about the size of Bath had more solar power being used than all of the UK put together. It gave itself the name of Germany’s solar capital. I walked away and thought this is embarrassing, if they can do it we can too. I went to see the mayor for guidance and he just said start. I pinched the idea of Solar City and decided just to start and hoped others would follow. I created a brand to bring people in.
What were the obstacles that you had to overcome?
- Perceptions – getting people to believe that what you are doing may not get you a financial return, but it’s the right thing to do.
- Belief that you are doing the right thing
- Trying to get people past the belief that solar has a gravy train.
- Creating a legacy
- Daily mail article ‘the sun has set on solar, the gold rush has finished’. The sun is still up there it hasn’t gone away. Solar can work on a grey day, it actually just needs light not direct sunlight.
What helped you keep going in hard times?
- Having a day job
- People who say look at what you have achieved
- Positive feedback
- People who say ‘Can I help’
What first prompted you to become interested in environmental issues and when was that?
I have always been interested I think that has been lifelong. I studied Environmental Science at A level, Environmental Management as a degree and Advanced Environmental Sciences for my Masters. The original inspiration was the green magazine which I first bought as a teenager.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?
9, but not feeling conceited