When we browse websites or store information in the cloud, we’re not just outsourcing computing power, we’re outsourcing the emissions needed to run the internet. Data centres pick up the slack. They consume more than 2% of electricity worldwide and collectively have the same emissions as the airline industry. With global data traffic doubling every four years, this is likely to increase - adding even more to the strain on the climate.
While climate science is alarming (suggesting just 10 years left to limit warming below the dangerous 1.5 degree level), it presents an opportunity for businesses to step up where governments have made little progress. Sustainability can give your company an edge and set you apart as a leader in your industry.
You may see it as a moral urge to reduce your business carbon footprint. Or perhaps it’s the long term financial savings that appeal. Either way, it makes sense to be a step ahead of future regulations which are likely to penalise polluters.
According to a Nielsen survey, 81% of customers think it is ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important that companies act to improve the environment - so there’s a great commercial imperative to engage in climate action too.
But where do you start? We’ve broken down the question of how to reduce your company’s carbon footprint into five key topics to help you create an actionable plan.
We’ve recently done some modelling of the performance of solar tracking systems, but this can only tell you so much. What about how one would perform in the real world? Luckily we can answer that by looking at a solar tracker that we installed a few years ago...
Topics: Solar PV
Is it possible to get free solar panels for businesses? A lot has changed since solar first started gaining popularity, with prices falling around 50% in the last decade and many of the initial subsidies like the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants. But there are still opportunities for companies to benefit from financed solar systems, the most promising of which are Solar PPAs.
We hear more and more about Blockchain technology. The technology creates a transparent public ledger that records series of transactions, facilitating a fast, low-cost, trusted transfer of value without the involvement of traditional intermediaries.
Already used in the financial sector, it’s only a matter of time before Blockchain hits the energy sector in a major way, particularly with the explosion of micro-generation of electricity, the ending of solar subsidies, and the advent of smart meters.
With Octopus Energy claiming to have paid customers to use excess electricity at night on four occasions in the last 12 months, real time peer-to-peer trading of electricity is surely just around the corner. Other potential applications include authentication of renewable generation and trading of emissions permits.
Are you responsible for a commercial property or a commercial / residential property portfolio? Or are you an architect, specifier, commercial end user, engineer, contractor or consultant seeking to learn more about solar PV or battery storage?
If so you many be interested in our FREE CPD accredited training courses.
Following on from our previous blog detailing Carbon Trust's Green Business Fund, we have recently become aware of other (EU-funded) free handouts for SME's looking to enhance their green credentials AND reduce their bills!
According to Solar Power Portal, the latest EEVS Insight report has found that demand for solar PV among corporates remains above average, despite Brexit uncertainty impacting the wider energy efficiency sector.
This comes as no surprise to us, because we frequently see companies able to achieve a 12-20% IRR (internal rate of return) from solar PV, over the 25 year expected life of the system.
And solar PV provides a very visual statement of an organisation's green credentials. It is a technology well liked by the public and thus appealing to employees, shareholders, customers and suppliers.
Furthermore, if your organisation fits the criteria for a Solar PPA (Solar Power Purchase Agreement), you can benefit from having solar on site without paying for the system yourself.
What is a Solar PPA?
Read on to find out more, or download our brand new (and free) Guide to Solar PPAs:
Guide to Solar PPAs
(Power Purchase Agreements)
Driving around business parks and industrial estates (as I do..), I am frequently struck by how many flat roofed industrial buildings there are, and how few of them have solar panels on them.
Flat roof solar tends to cost slightly more than sloping roof solar, but it's still worth doing - payback times of 7-9 years are typical, versus an expected life of 20-30 years.
In simple terms the lifetime cost per kWh generated is around 4.5p. With the Feed-in Tariff subsidy that falls to around 3p per kWh!
You really should want one...
3p per kWh is pretty amazing, particularly when compared to a grid cost of 10-15p per kWh and rising. So if your premises has a flat roof, don't dismiss it. Call us and we'll assess the viability of the installation for you.
In the mean time, here are a few key things to be aware of, including the optimal panel slope, the optimal orientation, fixing type, ballast, and roof warranties.
Topics: Solar PV
As a rule of thumb, with the decline in Feed-in Tariffs and the advent of battery storage, a grid-connected commercial solar system is best sized with an annual output (kWh) approximately equal to the annual load of the business / property.
So if your load is 36,000kWh a year, and a kWp outputs 900kWh a year, size the system at 40 kWp.
What if your roof is too small to achieve this with standard panels? Which panel do you turn to?
Topics: Solar PV