The UK is now in the process of transitioning to a low carbon economy and key to that transformation is the generation, transmission and use of decentralised renewable energy. Solar is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the UK for consumers, businesses and the public sector. Solar Energy UK and Next Energy UK present solutions that enable businesses in the UK to thrive using decentralised sources of renewable energy.
Earlier this year, the BRE National Solar Centre published the Biodiversity Guidance for Solar Developments which outlines best practice in solar farm development that seeks to optimise biodiversity with planning consideration to visual and heritage conditions. Since then, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has shifted subsidies through the Renewables Obligation (RO) regime from April 2015 for large-scale projects and planted its focus towards the rooftop market. What will this mean for farmers and landowners who have been thinking of diversifying their income streams over the next 12 months?
NFU chief renewables advisor, Dr Jonathan Scurlock says “Sensitively-sited and well-managed solar farms continue to be acceptable but farmers should take a fresh look at the enhanced opportunities for building-mounted solar power.”
According to Alexander Creed, Partner in Strutt & Parker’s energy team “Even with reduced support from Government, solar PV still provides a good return on investment. For a new build solar barn we estimate this is between 3 percent and 5 percent, and for retrofit between 8% and 10% for smaller systems and for larger roof tops it can get over 12%. The cost of installation has fallen over the last couple of years and with increasing electricity costs resulting in demand for electricity to be sold to the grid. Landowners looking to diversify should look at solar PV on their buildings across all property sectors.”
Last year, speakers from organisations such as the National Trust, Repowering, The British Bee Keepers Association and Abundance Generation participated in a range of educational sessions at Solar Energy UK including conservation, community generated energy and onsite integrated solutions for farms. Supported by the DECC the event featured a visit from the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt. Hon Greg Barker MP.
In 2014, Solar Energy UK will incorporate Next Energy UK pavilion where building owners, facility managers and energy managers can source the latest break-through technology in solar integrated systems for the generation, transmission and storage of distributed energy to secure energy prices for years to come.
Next Energy UK will feature products addressing, the renewable heat incentive (heat pumps, solar thermal), smart grids and metres, energy storage (commercial and residential), electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and energy efficiency improvements. Alexander Creed says with changes in energy legislation coming in to effect over the next few years all building owners and occupiers need to understand how they can reduce energy consumption to make their buildings better performing and that there are significant opportunities for commercial buildings.
A dedicated technology theatre operated in conjunction with the BRE and DECC will provide key information on how to green your business and save money while doing it.
Commercial energy users can attend seminars on reducing grid reliance and explore on-site renewable energy options.
The Large-Scale Feature Area will also return to the Solar Energy UK show floor. Sponsors BELECTRIC will share expertise on how farmers, landowners and businesses can profit from solar in the ground and on roofs.
All seminars will be free-to-attend this year including the Solar Business Seminar Theatre where visitors can find out more about policy updates and emerging markets.
Entry to both events is FREE.