Leggett go: environmental campaigner steps down as Solarcentury chairman


British environmental campaigner, author and entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett has stepped down from his role as chairman of U.K. solar company Solarcentury in order to focus more on climate campaigning in what will be a pivotal year for climate change, says the activist.

Leggett – Solarcentury’s founder – will remain a board member of the company and has been replaced as non-executive chairman by Philip Comberg, who recently joined the board as an independent director boasting a wealth of international experience.

In announcing his decision to step down, Leggett remarked that 2015 is a "make or break year" for everyone who cares about abating climate change and solar’s massive role in this mission.

"I feel a strong need," Leggett said, "almost at the level of my DNA, to adjust my portfolio of activities to create more space for campaigning. I need to be doing more, in particular, with Carbon Tracker, SolarAid, and my new idea of a 5% Club for Climate and Development based on the Solarcentury-SolarAid model."

With one eye on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December this year, Leggett is eager to expend his campaigning energies on pushing for a "meaningful treaty in Paris", he said, adding that his replacement at Solarcentury will bring a safe pair of hands to the company’s leadership, ably assisted by CEO, Frans van den Heuvel.

"Solarcentury is at an exciting juncture as we expand into Africa and Latin America, where many countries are at grid parity, so there’s a strong economic case for solar," said van den Heuvel. "This growth will be guided by Philip’s wealth of international solar experience, combined with his financial and commercial pedigree."

The CEO added that Leggett’s decision to step down will ensure the campaigner is able to allocate more time to focus on promoting solar’s role in the fight against climate change. "We will continue to work hard with Jeremy and the rest of the solar industry to encourage the widespread adoption of solar power to help reduce carbon emissions."

Last month, Leggett tweeted to pv magazine that 2015 is likely to be a "turnaround" year for solar, at the expense of carbon growth.