Tomorrow the Financial Times stages a conference on strategies for the revolution unfolding in global energy markets. I am on a panel discussing the role of innovation. I have a thrilling example to recount based on the work of Solarcentury’s innovation team. In the limited time I have available, I will struggle to do their accomplishments justice, so I plan to try and do so in this blog. Their’s is a story of belief and design brilliance in the face of adversity and doubt. It offers an inspirational microcosm of the potential for fast deployment of clean energy in the future, with all the social good that entails. It creates a talisman for the widespread underestimation of the transformative power of solar energy that persists across society. A few years ago, the innovation team told Solarcentury’s management and board that they were aiming for a fully building-integrated solar roof system that would be comparable to a standard system bolted on to an existing roof, whilst winning accolades for aesthetics. I and others doubted such a world-first would be achievable. But their belief was solid, strongly backed up by CEO Frans van den Heuvel, and the prize if it could be realised was potentially huge: market research suggested an in-roof product price comparative with an on-roof product would be extremely popular. So the project went ahead.
Jeremy Leggett 31st May 2016 read more »