Build Magazine August 2015

Build Magazine 37 made, it is the perfect time to make the most of the current level of sup- port by signing up for assessments and moving existing solar projects forward. However, whilst in the short term the timeframe for today’s RO and FiTs framework is running out, the long-term advantages of solar PV remain intact. As an established technology, PV panels have solid track record in delivering clean, safe and reliable electricity for large-scale applications – and with such com- pelling benefits, the case for solar moving forward remains strong. Taking a long-term view Whilst subsidies undoubtedly have an important role to play in boosting uptake, it’s important not to let any short-term uncertainty over incentive payments overshadow the huge role PV is set to play in meeting the UK’s energy needs. Away from the policy debate – and whatever the outcome of the consultations – business- es across the country are under increasing pressure to cut their costs and carbon emissions quickly. What’s more, the UK has a commitment to generating 15% of its energy – and specifically, 30% of its electricity – from renewable sources by 2020. Those businesses that invest in renewable solutions like solar PV now will not only provide a much-needed contribution to government targets in the run-up to 2020 and beyond – they will also benefit from a cleaner and more secure energy supply for many years to come. Unlike competing technologies, solar PV is relatively easy and quick to deploy, making it truly viable on a national scale. As a result, it has become a leading option for a whole host of non-domestic buildings that are looking to substantially reduce overheads and cut energy consump- tion, whilst demonstrating clear sustainability credentials to their stakeholders. Solar is the ideal renewables option for buildings with unused space and makes business sense for applica- tions with a high electricity demand. Roof- and ground-mounted systems provide a reliable source of energy even on cloudy, overcast days. They also work seamlessly alongside more conventional energy sources, making it easy to integrate into a building’s existing power setup. For best returns businesses can also design a bespoke system to meet their own individual electricity demands (known as solar self-con- sumption). This allows them to benefit from stable long-term elec- tricity prices – instantly reducing their reliance on energy imported from the grid, and protecting them against future increases. A bright future Even without taking incentives into account, businesses that make solar PV a part of their energy mix can rely on a future-proof energy supply – one that is cleaner, greener and more secure. It not only cuts emissions and provides a clear com- petitive advantage, it also protects against supply volatility, potential shortages and price increases. What’s more, with self-consumption, solar can provide significant savings on a building’s energy costs on a day-to-day basis. These long-term rewards mean that whilst at the mo- ment there may be uncertainty on the horizon, in the UK the boat for solar PV has far from sailed. In fact, it’s very much still anchored – and now’s the time to get on board. Eco Building