Solar Energy is a ‘hot’ topic right now and while we experienced a Summer of high levels of sunshine and very high energy prices, discussions are happening more and more between us and our customers around how solar energy can benefit organisations and make a difference. If you missed our previous blog diving into the benefits of solar energy please click here to have a read.
During these discussions it has also provided the opportunity to talk through some of the myths around producing or using solar energy and we felt it would be helpful to share some of those with you below.
We’re the UK and not known for our consistently amazing sunshine. Does this make Solar Energy worth it here?
In 2021 it was recorded that the UK experienced 1387.80 hours of sunshine that year* and when compared to the 8760 hours in a year it is a low figure, however, don’t let this deter you when it comes to thinking about solar energy.
During the day a solar park will always generate some form of electricity, even on the darkest cloudiest day because there is still sunlight, just at a much lower level than the brightest of days. Throughout the ebb and flow of a year and our average weather patterns in this country you will see rises and peaks in terms of generation and this is where the National Grid comes in. They are responsible for balancing the system overnight and making sure the supply is there.
This balancing is largely made up of gas-fired generation. Wind and solar are increasing significantly in the UK. This will increase the amount contributed to the grid, so we could see the reliance on gas to make up shortfalls become less. Plus let’s not forget about storage and battery options too which provide flexibility.
It feels like to go green, become eco and do the right thing costs a lot more money, is this the case with Solar too?
If you decide to follow the route of building a solar park, then yes this is an investment. It requires a large amount of upfront cost however the returns you will see on this long term can make looking at solar more than worthwhile and not only from a carbon standpoint, but financially too. We are witnessing and being part of more and more conversations of how investing in renewables is a financially sensible thing to do. For example, building your own asset like a solar farm or entering a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) can be financially better than supply via the wholesale market and being subjected to volatility caused by global events.
The pipeline of work involved in building a solar park is huge, it’s more hassle than it’s worth.
There is no denying that looking at this route involves a lot of work and as we have outlined above the upfront costs can be high, but the longer-term financial gain can work out better for your organisation.
The key and important factors are getting your numbers right for your business case and decision makers on board, plus being realistic about the work that lies ahead.
Let’s not forget that building and owning a solar park asset isn’t your only option. You can also look at a Power purchase Agreement (PPA). This can often be the more enticing route because for a PPA you don’t need upfront capital, you’re simply changing the source of where you buy your electricity so the PPA contract links you to a renewable generator. We understand though that going this route can bring uncertainty especially if it’s not something you haven’t done before. It is for this reason that we offer consultancy support to help you figure out the routes that would best suit you and what you need to help you achieve your overarching goals.
In our next blog we are looking at the ways your organisation can incorporate solar in more depth so please revisit to read our insights.
* Statistic taken from • Annual sunshine hours 2021 | Statista