EvoEnergy: how manufacturers are benefitting from solar
Every company loves to receive feedback from customers. In the case of EvoEnergy, rather than simply asking clients their opinions specific to the product it installed, the business took the time to ask: why solar?
Here are the answers to those questions, from Express Bonding and A.M.P.-Rose, courtesy of EvoEnergy.
Alastair Lee, the production manager for laminate fabricators Express Bonding, talks about his experience with EvoEnergy and solar nearly two years on from their installation.
Why did you want to get solar panels for the company?
I just look at it as being the future of the way companies should be run. I wanted to reduce the electric cost and I’m trying to keep the company as green as possible and I thought that was a good way of adding to our green credentials.
Did you consider any green energy options other than solar panels?
We’ve got a renewable heating central boiler - we got that in January 2013 - and then I wanted to add to what we could do with the site, and the solar panels were the next step in the evolution.
What was it like working while the panels were being installed? Did the installation disrupt anything?
No, EvoEnergy worked around our day to day hours to avoid any disruption to the business. We don’t work on Fridays - we work 40 hours Monday to Thursday and shut down on Fridays - so they came in Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and had it finished over the course of one weekend.
Did that fit the schedule you had in mind?
A lot quicker actually. In early discussion we were looking at about a week to ten days, something like that. That was just the solar panels, then their electrician came in and connected the electrics, but it was about seven days (including weekends) quicker than I thought it would be.
Was there any one thing you wish you’d been warned about the installation process beforehand?
No, the project manager went through everything with me. He was also onsite before the installation date. We talked quite a lot about what we wanted to do and I was pretty well informed about how we would go forward with this. It was a very good team actually.
Since the installation has everything worked as expected? Has it met your expectations of what you wanted from a solar system?
It very much has, yes. It’s allowed us to install new equipment without having to think of the additional electricity consumption so much. We have increased how much electricity we use and it doesn’t add to your costs overall for the entire year because you’ve got the solar panels already there doing their bit. They’ve been excellent - they’ve been better than expected actually. The returns have been very worthwhile so far.
What’s been the most pleasantly surprising thing about having the panels?
The electric bills! Especially in the summer. I think September was probably the best, with the lowest amount that we’ve been charged.
What would be some advice that you would give to other companies looking to get a solar system?
Don’t worry about the initial cost of it, because although it does seem like quite an outlay at first, you’ll be very happy with the payments and the reduction in the electric bill.
A.M.P-Rose, an engineering company that supplies machinery to the sweets and confectionery manufacturing industry, had solar panels installed on their new factory at the end of 2015. EvoEnergy spoke to their sales and finance director, Paul Mann, to find out his thoughts on installation process and what the months since then have been like.
Why did you want to get solar panels for the company?
The pay back on solar was fairly good and with the feed-in tariff reducing at the end of that year (Jan 2016), we decided to install sooner to ensure we received the best returns possible at the time.
Was it an easy decision to install solar panels, or were there things you wanted to find out first?
There were quite a few things. One of the most important things other than the financials was to be sure that the company supplying them was competent, reputable and that the quality of the equipment was good.
When you were thinking about getting solar panels did anything in your plans change once you started talking to EvoEnergy?
I think it was fairly straightforward. They were able to do what we wanted.
During the installation process was it difficult working around the installers? Was there any disruption?
I wouldn’t say it was difficult. It was a new factory we were building, so there wasn’t any production going on in the factory at the time, but we were doing other work building the factory, so [the installers and the construction workers] had to work around each other. It all worked out pretty well.
In that regard were you able to plan the installation alongside the building of the factory?
Yes. They [the installers and the construction workers] had to work with each other at times with getting access to put the solar panels on, but it did work well overall with all of them working together.
Is there anything you wish you’d known about the installation process from the start?
No, for the physical installation I think we were all happy with that.
Has the system itself worked as expected? Has it met your energy requirements?
It’s all going very well. The information I’ve found recently is very good - you get the readout of what you generate which is good. We’re happy with it.
What’s been the most pleasantly surprising thing about having the solar panels?
The installation was very smooth - that was good.
What advice would you give to any other companies looking to get their own solar system?
Make sure they evaluate their options and be confident in the figures that are presented back to them. Also be sure that the company you go with is competent and going to be around to support you after the installation.
Read the April 2017 edition of Energy Digital magazine
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere