5 2014 Solar Award Winners You Need to Know
“The photovoltaic market is one where growth and opportunity remains high, the last few years has seen enough investment and research impetus to ensure there is ample opportunity for companies that can demonstrate technological development towards grid parity while reducing overall cost,” writes Jackie Cannon, Solar Industry Awards Event Organizer.
“The growth of the PV market has been driven by necessity as the world comes to grips with a dwindling supply of fossil based fuels to meet the growing global appetite for energy. In this highly competitive environment, which products, process and people will provide that creative ingenuity?”
The answer, of course, is the 2014 winner of the Solar Award. Out of the long list of honorees, we’ve chosen 5 that are certainly worth paying attention to.
5. Project Development Award—Power Clouds, Power Clouds Project
At its most basic, Singapore’s Power Clouds is a company looking to make solar more accessible and affordable. Essentially, Power Clouds plans construction of solar projects across the globe and participants lease a solar panel and are compensated for its generation. It provides an alternative for financing solar panels and has already seen almost 50,000 participants sign up.
“Power Clouds, despite its brief history on the market and fierce competition with important competitors, has been chosen as archetype of Business Project Development given its impressive portfolio and visionary leadership in the world,” Roberto Forlani, the project’s head, said. “With impressive numbers, facts and figures Power Clouds establishes itself one of to be the biggest solar energy producers in the world, implementing the most ambitious business project ever conceived on the market.”
More information on the project can be found here.
4. Turnkey Supplier Award—Panasonic, End-To-End Solar Solution
Japan’s Panasonic is working to make solar more accessible, but in a different way. The company knows that there can be a barrier to going solar for some, as dealing with multiple installers, vendors, and contractors can be a hassle. Panasonic has consolidated everything into a single process called Panasonic Eco Solutions. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for all things solar, with everything going through a single channel.
“We are the only company to bring all phases of solar project development from finance to design installation to maintenance under one roof backed by a production guarantee,” Panasonic writes. “And because of its reputation of reliability and financial stability Panasonic alleviates a customer’s worries about dealing with multiple vendors of questionable reliability stability and ability to cooperate with one another to complete projects on schedule and on budget.”
More information on Panasonic Eco Solutions can be found here.
3. Rural Electrification Development Award—Phaesun, BOSS (Business Opportunities with Solar Systems)
Making energy accessible in the world’s rural areas starts with accepting that sometimes connecting to the grid just isn’t possible. Germany’s Phaesun is working to bring off-grid solar to rural communities in a variety of scales. However, Phaesun is focused mainly in the commercial sector, allowing businesses to operate in places they might not have been able to before. The company points to the example of bringing refrigeration to rural areas, which is vital to safe food practices.
“The BOSS Refrigeration Kits are the best solution for reliable cooling or freezing needs far from the electricity grid,” the company writes. “These kits include the solar fridge Steca PF 166 as well as the entire equipment for charging and installation material. The kits are best suitable for the use in grocery stores, restaurants, etc.”
More information about BOSS can be found here.
2. System Integration Award—skytron, skylog Data Logger System
As we discussed last week, the efficient and intelligent utilization of data is essential for the evolution of the solar industry. Germany’s skytron has developed a reliable data monitoring device in its skylog system. It can communicate with nearly any variety of terminal devices, regardless of make or model. It can also store that data for up to 4 weeks in the case of a power failure.
That’s not all, however. As the developers note, skylog is built with robustness and versatility in mind.
“skylog is equipped with an industrial router. This allows the use of DSL, UMTS or satellite communication in order to forward current plant information to the plant supervision platform PVGuard or to other performance analysis tools,” the company explains. “skylog therefore forms an indispensable component as it is an elementary part of the skytron real-time monitoring, control and supervision system for utility-scale PV installations.”
More information on skylog can be found here.
1. Industry Development Award—Rexel, Solar Energeasy
Much like Panasonic, France’s Rexel knows that going solar can be difficult sometimes, since there are so many different parties and components to juggle. With their Energeasy platform, however, they’re attempting to make it that much easier by putting the power in the hands of the consumer to essentially manage their own project. To Rexel, the biggest benefit of their platform is an intangible one: confidence in solar energy.
“Confidence in the industry has yo-yoed in recent years,” the company admits. It notes that renewable energy prices are not yet fully competitive with traditional sources and that in a industry based entirely on ROI, hearing a negative anecdote or two about poorly installed panels or no ROI can be highly detrimental.
Energeasy gives consumers a guarantee on what they’re going to get, before they get it. If what’s delivered isn’t what’s expected, their money can be refunded.
“This is the first time a company is offering an end-to-end Solar PV package for both the installer and the consumer through an extremely user friendly and intuitive online platform, bringing both the installer and consumer a user experience more often associated with purely consumer-facing retail brands,” the company writes. “This is the Apple IPhone equivalent of a solar installation package.”
More information about Energeasy can be found here.
The full list of winners from this year’s Solar Awards can be found here.
UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC
The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.
While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.
"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."
The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.
- Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
- Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
- Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
- Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
- Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.
In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies.
Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”
Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society.
Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."
Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).
Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.