Given that the government is determined to avoid playing a financial role in the planned new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, it is perhaps surprising that it is involved in the UK’s largest solar array. The 70-megawatt Lyneham photovoltaic farm – big enough to provide light and heat to 20,000 homes – is located at a former RAF base in Wiltshire owned and rented out by the Ministry of Defence. Lyneham opened last summer with the help of private operator British Solar Renewables, but is only one of a series of projects that were planned for publicly owned sites. And it is good business. Many associate Whitehall with the government’s recent cuts to solar subsidies, but the state has cashed in on a wider solar boom by providing land – as well as benefiting from the low carbon emissions that come from green energy. Last week a milestone was passed when it was revealed that, for the first time, the sun provided more UK electricity from photovoltaic panels than heavily polluting coal-fired plants over a full 24-hour period. Just under 30 gigawatt hours – or 4% of national demand – was met by solar, the latest in a series of records set by the wider renewable energy sector in recent months. The solar industry argues it is being abandoned at the worst possible moment – just a few years before becoming self-sufficient, and at a time ministers seem prepared to back much more expensive nuclear or offshore wind power projects. As many as 2,000 solar jobs are estimated to have been lost over the last 12 months and Decc’s own worst case scenarios warn of 18,700 jobs on the line. Lightsource Renewable Energy, the largest owner of solar assets in Britain, cut 25% of its staff last week, while other companies such as Absolute Renewable Energy and Eco Juice have just called in the liquidators. The biggest collapse came last autumn, when the Mark Group failed, leaving almost 1,000 jobless.
Guardian 16th April 2016 read more »
Commuters in London’s Canary Wharf will now be able to wait for their bus at one of the world’s most technologically cutting-edge bus stops, with the unveiling of a new bus shelter featuring transparent solar PV glazing. The bus shelter, which was officially opened this week by Green Party Mayoral candidate Sian Berry, was designed and developed by Polysolar Ltd in partnership with street furniture supplier Marshalls.
Business Green 12th April 2016 read more »