Subsidy-free solar ‘coming of age’ thanks to battery technology

Subsidy-free solar ‘coming of age’ thanks to battery technology

Subsidy-free solar ‘coming of age’ thanks to battery technology

Subsidy-free solar projects are “coming of age” thanks to the falling costs and flexibility of co-located battery storage technology, according to a new report which claims that more than 5GW of solar capacity could be deployed in the UK without subsidies by 2030.

There are more than one million solar PV installations now in operation across the UK

The study, conducted by Aurora Energy Research and commissioned by Wyelands Bank and renewable energy firm Anesco, examined the rate of returns and viability of solar power and battery storage that are co-located on the same site.

The report concluded that the measure of the profitability of an investment discounted over the life of the project for projects deployed in 2020 is 6.6% to 7.6% under Aurora’s “base case market scenario. In comparison, the internal rates of return (IRR) for standalone solar and battery projects is 4%.

Aurora Energy Research’s principal and report author Benjamin Collie said: “Investing in either standalone solar or standalone storage assets carries technology and policy risks. If rapid innovation and supportive policy lead to fast deployment of solar, then that will tend to increase revenues for storage assets, but decrease revenues for existing solar assets. Conversely, slower deployment of solar would lead to lower revenues for storage but higher revenues for existing solar.

“Investing in a portfolio with both solar and storage can help mitigate these risks, and co-locating the assets allows for cost savings and more efficient use of grid connections.”

The report highlights that co-locating solar power with battery storage can accelerate deployment by de-risking the intermittency of renewables while unlocking additional revenue streams. In fact, the IRR for co-located projects could increase by a further 3% under “more aggressive” market scenarios. The hybrid systems could also help investors mitigate risks associated with subsidy-free projects, notable price cannibalisation.

Subsidy-free

The Government’s decision to axe the Feed-In Tariff (FiT) scheme will leave dozens of UK community groups “struggling to make the business case” for new small-scale solar projects, think tank Green Alliance has warned. Launched in 2010, the FiT scheme provides payments to owners of small-scale renewable generators at a fixed rate per unit of electricity produced, enabling the cost of installation to be recouped.

It has been one of the key factors contributing to the huge increase in solar photovoltaic deployment from 100MW in January 2010 to 12.7GW at the end of 2017, of which 4.8GW is supported by FITs.

However, other groups have begun to argue that the playing field has now been levelled for a new era of subsidy-free, industrial-scale solar in the UK. The nation ranked seventh in the latest bi-annual Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) from consultancy EY, for example, up from 10th in the last index. Experts believe this trend is likely to continue, with several forecasts indicating that Britain will install 18GW of new solar capacity by 2030 and attract £20bn of investment.

This potential has been partly attributed to the success of the country’s first subsidy-free solar farm; a 10MW facility which was opened last September in Bedfordshire. Other large-scale subsidy-free arrays in development include a 15MWp onsite project at the Westcott Venture Business Park in Aylesbury and Warrington Borough Council’s recently announced 62MW solar and 27MW battery storage project.

There are more than one million solar PV installations now in operation across the UK, the majority of which have been installed over the last decade.
Recent government data, in fact, found that 99% of the current solar capacity in the UK became operational after 2010, and provided 12.9TWh of power in 2018, a 12% increase compared to 2017.

Despite the increased share of the energy mix, new solar power installations halved in the UK last year for the second year in a row, as the fallout of government subsidy cuts continued to shake the sector.

In January, the UK Government made a U-turn on its decision to end the solar “export tariff”, confirming that households which install solar panels in the future will be paid for excess power they generate and send to the grid. The export tariff is the replacement for solar panels under the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme, which is closing in April.

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Firm to shed light on solar scheme planned for sites near Newmarket

Firm to shed light on solar scheme planned for sites near Newmarket

Firm to shed light on solar scheme planned for sites near Newmarket

Solar farm

Residents are being asked for their views on proposals to set up the country’s biggest solar farm close to Newmarket.

The Sunnica Energy Farm would be located across three separate sites, Sunnica East, located close to Worlington and Freckenham, Sunnica West A, near Chippenham, and Sunnica West B, at Snailwell. All three would be connected to each other and the Burwell National Grid substation.

The solar farm, if it goes ahead, would allow for the generation, storage, import, and export of up to 500 megawatts (MW) of electrical capacity with the potential to meet the energy needs of around 100,000 homes.

Each solar farm would use ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity from the sun. The scheme will also include a battery energy storage system (BESS), which will allow it to store, import and export electricity to and from the National Grid.

The scheme is classified a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project because of its generating capacity and, as such, is a major development which requires planning permission to be granted not by the local authority but by the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through a development consent order. Construction could start as early as spring 2022 with planned operation set for spring 2025,

As part of a local consultation exercise, exhibitions will be taking place starting on Friday, June 21, at Worlington village hall (3.30-7.30pm); Red Lodge Millennium Centre (June 22 noon-4pm); Chippenham village hall (June 28 3.30-7.30pm); Freckenham village hall (June 29 2-6pm); Mandeville Hall, Burwell (July 2 3.30-7.30pm); West Row village hall (July 11 3.30-7.30pm); Victoria Hall, Fordham (July 17 3.30- 7.30pm), and The Beeches, Isleham (July19 3.30-7.30pm).

“We’re consulting at an early stage in scheme development because we want to gain valuable feedback which will help us prepare the design of our plans. We encourage as many people as possible to attend one of our upcoming public exhibitions to learn more about the scheme and share their views,” said Luke Murray of Sunnica Ltd.

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Dutch start-up firm releases world’s first ‘long-range’ solar car Lightyear One

Dutch start-up firm releases world’s first ‘long-range’ solar car Lightyear One

Solar Car, Lightyear One Launched by Dutch Firm

A Dutch start-up has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first long-range solar car, which the company claims has a range of 450 miles on a single charge.

Solar Car, Lightyear One

The Lightyear One has a bonnet and roof comprised of solar cells and also has a battery which can be electrically charged.

The car is expected to be delivered in 2021 with a reservation fee of 119,000 euro (£106,000).

Presenting the prototype publicly for the first time, Lightyear chief executive Lex Hoefsloot said the creation of the solar car was influenced by the need to respond to climate change.

Solar Car, Lightyear One to help solve Climate Change

“Climate change is one of the biggest problems that we humans have faced in our history. It is such a frightening development that it is almost paralysing. We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do so

“Lightyear One represents a huge opportunity to change mobility for the better. For centuries, we have lived in balance with nature. With the technologies of today, we have the opportunity to do so again.

“By starting from scratch and using the laws of nature as a guideline, nature becomes our greatest ally in developing ultra-efficient designs.”

The prototype solar car is propelled by four independently driven wheels, which the firm says means no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.

It can also be charged using regular plug sockets as well as at charging stations.

Solar Car, Lightyear One – 500 for Production

The start-up confirmed the first 100 units of the Lightyear One have already been reserved, but 500 in total are to be produced initially.

Mr Hoefsloot said the company already has plans for future versions of the car.

“Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market; Lightyear One is the first long-range solar car and has staggering specifications,” he said.

“The next models we plan to develop will have significantly lower purchase prices. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users.

“Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price per kilometre.

“A third, final step will be to provide truly sustainable cars that are more affordable to use than the cost of gas you need to drive a combustion car.

“This will prove to be our most important tipping point in the near future, and it will pave the way for a car fleet that is 100% sustainable.”

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Renewable electricity capacity continues for UK Wind and Solar ‘hit Q1 high’

Renewable electricity capacity continues for UK Wind and Solar ‘hit Q1 high’

Wind and solar output in the UK achieved a record share of nearly 24% of electricity generation in the first quarter of 2019.

In the figures, released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), total renewable generation increased by 9.2% on the same quarter last year to 31.1 terawatt hours (TWh).

As a result, renewables’ share of electricity generation was a near record 35.8% in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, up 5.3% on the share in the same quarter of last year, and reflective of increased capacity.

According to the department’s figures the UK’s renewable electricity capacity reached 45GW at the end of March, a 7.9% increase on a year earlier, mostly due to increased capacity for onshore and offshore wind and plant biomass.

In Q1 2019 onshore wind generation increased by 4.8% to 9.8TWh, whilst offshore wind increased by 7.3% to 8.6TWh.

As a result, total wind generation increased by 6% to 18.4TWh, just short of the record which had been set in in the last quarter of 2018.

Solar generation increased by 19%, from 1.8TWh in 2018 Q1 to 2.1TWh in 2019 Q1.

In Scotland renewable electricity generation reached record levels in Q1 2019, according to the figures from BEIS, reaching 8877 gigawatt hours (GWh), an increase of 17% on Q1 2018.

The latest statistics also show that the growth of Scotland’s renewable electricity capacity continues, rising from 10.4GW in March 2018 to 11.3GW in March 2019.

The Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “These figures show Scotland’s renewable energy sector continues to go from strength to strength.

“Last year, we were able to meet the equivalent of almost 74% of our electricity demand from renewable sources, and the first quarter in 2019 shows that positive trend continues.

“We are seeing the growing importance of offshore wind, with capacity and generation both continuing to rise – with further projects under construction.”

He said that despite “damaging policy changes” from the UK Government, particularly the removal of an effective route to market for onshore wind, the Scottish Government continues to provide strong support for Scotland’s renewable energy sector.

“Generation and infrastructure investment continues, not least because of the importance in preventing the damaging impacts of climate change,” Wheelhouse added.

Wind Farms

Powersystems has connected 24% of all Onshore Wind Farms. Experience in the design and installation of high voltage electrical infrastructure has placed Powersystems in a position ideally suited to carryout wind farm electrical balance of plant contracts. 

Solar Parks

There has been a large uptake in the number of solar parks being granted planning consent in the UK, and Powersystems has been involved with many of these providing grid connection schemes at 11kV & 33kV. Each scheme is designed by our team of engineers and covers the requirements of the DNO substation, site wide earthing and cabling to the point of connection. The whole process is managed, from initial connection application to final energisation and adoption.

 

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