Crowns Agents report announces solar power revolution
A report released on 27 November by Crown Agents titled “The Solar Revolution” highlights the importance solar power could have on the future.
Due to the dramatic fall in the cost of implementing solar projects, as well as major advances on energy storage and monitoring technology, solar is becoming more feasible.
The report argues that it has been the upfront capital expenditure that has off-put many companies from entering the solar market.
However, following the development of new technologies, the costs of building and operating solar projects has significantly reduced.
Off-grid solar power – including batter storage – is currently below 20 cents per kWh, with energy produced from small diesel and petrol generators costing at least three times as much.
Data from the report suggest that households in developing countries could 80% by switching from traditional fuels to solar technology and storage.
“This report shows that advances in technology have enabled solar energy to be cheaper and more reliable than ever before,” commented Fergus Drake, Chief Executive of Crowns Agents.
“Now we need governments, donors and the private sector to get behind solar in a bold way to reach the 1.1 billion people living without electricity today.”
The report also claims that the entire world could be powered by harnessing solar energy from just 1% of the sunshine that falls on the Sahara, and that US$2 million could supply every primary healthcare clinic in Sierra Leone with baseline power.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.