The latest UK Government Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) mean that the UK solar PV installations model is one that has shifted from pure investment to investment and regeneration. It is still possible to achieve a high rate of return from a solar PV installation and this is because the actual cost of the hardware (predominantly the Solar PV modules and solar inverters) has fallen considerably. This means that solar PV installations sub 50kW are again viable for a wide range of commercial, business and industrial applications,
Solar PV generated electricity has always been available for business and industrial applications and will help them to save money on their total electrical energy spends. The savings come from running electrical equipment on the solar power generated, saving some of this for later usage in an energy storage system and releasing excess energy into the National Grid to benefit from the FIT generation model. The adjustments to the FIT rates by the UK government were made to stop large investments dominating the solar PV market whilst at the same time allowing the government to reach its renewable energy target by 2020.
The best locations for a solar PV installation remain pitched roofs, southern facing with the right elevation. This means that office, farm, domestic and some commercial buildings can benefit from a solar PV installation. Flat roofs, commonly found on say data centre buildings simply require an angle-iron bracket to help mount the solar PV panels at the right orientation. As well as city and rural locations, solar PV energy can also benefit remote locations and these are even more likely to have local energy storage, especially when grid supplies may not be available over night.
Solar PV panel design is also changing. New sizes and watt-ratings are emerging. The large rectangular solar PV panel is a common sight but new panels are emerging that have the size of a roof-top tile. Solar PV film is also being explored for window applications. These developments open up the potential for a wider use of solar generated energy including remote roadside signage, navigation, emergency lighting and other electrically powered monitoring systems.
ECO Power Supplies (The Thamesgate Group) is an MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certified supplier of solar PV for renewable power installations.