If you read about a solar panel company looking for Britain’s shiniest grass you might think it was a typographical error, but that is what the developers of a two-sided panel say is needed. Europe’s largest developer of solar farms, Lightsource BP, which is backed by the oil giant BP, believes that two-sided panels could be built that would be capable of harvesting sunlight from above and below. To achieve this, however, light would have to be reflected from the ground to hit the underside of the “bi-facial” panels. They work in a similar fashion to conventional solar panels, but the rear surface is a sheet of clear glass allowing sunlight that reaches the underside of the panel to be converted into electricity as well. It has been suggested that the technology could boost solar energy production, especially in regions where the weather is frequently gloomy. Tests at a site near Belfast are said to have shown that the panels increased output by almost 15 per cent – and this could have been improved with shinier grass, it seems.
Times 9th July 2019 read more »
Guardian 8th July 2019 read more »
The UK’s energy retail market is, slowly but surely, changing beyond recognition. Ever since the market was privatised in 1990, it has been dominated by a select handful of companies whose combined share of the market has at times topped 99%. Now, nearly 30 years later, that status is changing and their footing is being eroded by an influx of independent operators with a stated aim of giving power back to the people. Increasingly, they are turning to solar and storage to do that. Solar and storage systems, so adept at handing power back to the people, are causing a shift in market share towards independent suppliers. Social Energy, one such independent new entrant, launched with much fanfare earlier this year. While technically an energy supplier – it holds a supply licence – its chief executive Ryan Gill describes the company as “more Microsoft than Apple” by the way it has developed bespoke software which is then added to third-party equipment. And it’s that software which has enabled Social Energy to lay claim to kick-starting a revolution in home solar in the UK. It uses artificial intelligence techniques to educate an algorithm which effectively assesses and manages individual home solar and storage systems every five minutes, meaning the company engages with its customer more than 100,000 times each year. To put that figure into context, during a recent trial of its system with National Grid to qualify it to be used in grid balancing services, Gill says the company delivered 11.2 billion pieces of data to the system operator. “What this allows us to do is deliver a return on investment that’s actually better than solar tariffs at their peak,” Gill says, referring to the UK’s feed-in tariff which, once upon a time, stood at a richly rewarding 43.3p/kWh. At that time a standard 4kW system returned an ROI figure of around 348%. Social’s heady mix of revenue streams, certainly aided by cost reductions which place a standard 4kW PV system plus 4kWh battery at circa £8,500, means that Social boasts a ROI figure of 365%. The electrification of transport, specifically the personal vehicle, is driving car companies into the energy market at speed. Automotive giants have quickly come around to the concept that they will soon be purveyors of batteries on wheels, embracing the change that comes with it. As has been identified by Moixa, the average electric vehicle’s battery is six-times the size of its domestic counterpart at ~30kWh, making them an ideal resource to pull from. This proved to be a significant contributing factor to Honda saddling up to Moixa earlier this year in a partnership designed to strengthen the duo’s collaboration in the energy sphere moving forward. Octopus Energy’s deal with EV charging supplier Wallbox, announced earlier this summer, bolsters the former’s Powerloop offering, which effectively combines renewable power supply, electric vehicle leasing and, crucially, a vehicle-to-grid chargers that allows the energy company to access the battery component and use it for grid services. OVO Energy, another of the UK’s challenger suppliers, is also driving development in this area.
Current News 8th July 2019 read more »
A 36.6MW subsidy-free solar farm has gone into planning in Scotland as Green Energy International (GEI) announces a development pipeline of over 700MW. The solar farm is to be located at Bilbo Farm in Aberdeenshire, with the aim of construction to start in spring 2020 and for the site to be connected in July 2020. GEI has spent around 15 months on the Bilbo Farm site so far. Two projects have gone into planning so far and a third site is to be submitted at the end of August, the three sites totalling 80MW. GEI is hoping to have a second portfolio submitted by the end of 2019, this one totalling 100MW. The solar firm is looking at developing a further 16 sites, extending its development pipeline to 2024, with 700MW currently under development. The aim is to submit two sites per month into planning over the next year.
Solar Power Portal 8th July 2019 read more »
Solarcentury is backing its potential sale to help the company accelerate and establish itself as a major player in the energy transition. Earlier this year Solarcentury, one of the UK industry’s stalwarts, confirmed that it was exploring a potential sale of the company, with global investment bank Evercore appointed to oversee the process. The firm has amassed a global solar development pipeline of around 5GW, with shovel-ready assets in some of Europe’s hottest PV markets including Spain, France and Italy, and has also began to build a pipeline of subsidy-free developments in the UK. And, speaking to Solar Power Portal, chief executive Frans van den Heuvel said he felt the time is now right for it to push on.
Solar Power Portal 9th July 2019 read more »