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Contractor

Erica Charles

Managing Director of Spirit Energy.

Recent Posts

Improve Building ROI With Photovoltaic Curtain Walling: 5 Year Payback Should Make Solar Glass a No Brainer

Erica Charles Feb 15, 2019 2:56:14 PM

Research indicates the market for curtain walling(*) is growing at a healthy rate of around 6% per annum.  This is driven both by new build construction and by energy efficient refurbishments of existing buildings.

Standard curtain walling improves the thermal insulation of the building, leading to reduced HVAC costs and reduced heat loss.  It also improves the aesthetic appearance of the building.

A photovoltaic curtain wall has the added benefit of generating electricity over the building’s life. 

Whilst it costs a bit more than standard curtain walling, the incremental cost of a photovoltaic façade will typically be paid back within around five years.

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Topics: Photovoltaic curtain wall, Photovoltaic facade, photovoltaic glass

Solar Panel Shortages: Order Ahead to Secure Panels for your Projects

Erica Charles Jan 17, 2019 5:20:21 PM

If you have a requirement for Solar PV as part of any project in Q1 or Q2 this year, we recommend you place an order for the installation as soon as you can in order to secure stock, current low prices, and installation labour.

The overall trend in the solar PV industry is one of technological improvements (more Watts per 60 cell panel), and manufacturing improvements (lower prices), but in the first half of this year a perfect storm is brewing leading to limitations in supply, and the potential for increasing prices.

Three factors are at play:

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Topics: Solar Panel Prices UK

Will 2019 be the Year Your Clients Ask for Solar PV Battery Storage?

Erica Charles Dec 14, 2018 7:47:30 AM

With 11 days to go until Christmas, Michelle Obama has launched her bid to join Christmas bestseller lists across the globe, Simon Cowell et al have launched their usual bid for the Christmas Number 1 song slot, and the nation prepares once more to vote in the Strictly Come Dancing final tomorrow.

A similar end-of-year flurry is taking place in the Solar PV Battery Storage market, all with a view to turbo-charging the market in 2019.

In the last few weeks:

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Topics: Solar PV battery storage, Powerwall2, Tesla Solar Battery, Powervault 3, Social Energy

Easy Roof Evolution: In Roof Solar with Velux Windows

Erica Charles Dec 7, 2018 9:46:15 AM

If you are building a new property or re-doing a roof and want to install solar PV, it makes sense to look at roof integrated solar panels.

There are a few systems on the market, for example Viridian Solar and GSE.  But one system in particular, Easy Roof Evolution, stands out if you want Velux® windows within the solar array.

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Topics: Roof Integrated Solar Panels, In Roof Solar Panels, Easy Roof Evolution Solar + Velux

Solar Panel Output Calculator: Commercial Solar PV

Erica Charles Nov 30, 2018 11:21:18 AM

Two or three weeks ago we launched a 'Back-of-Envelope' Solar PV Calculator.

You can access it here:

Go to Solar Calculator

I have been using the calculator to get a rough idea of what the returns from solar PV look like in a post-subsidy world, without bothering our Estimating team (who, as you can imagine, are pretty busy in the run up to the Feed-in Tariff closure on 31st March 2019).

Here's an example of what 75kWp of un-subsidised solar PV looks like, retro-fitted to a factory roof....

 
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Topics: Solar PV Calculator

Road to Zero: Government Increases Workplace Charging Grant to £500 Per Socket

Erica Charles Jul 20, 2018 2:53:57 PM

On 9th July, the government launched its “Road to Zero Strategy” to lead the world in zero emission vehicle technology.

Not to be confused with any other ‘Road to Zero’ or ‘Round in Circle’ government strategies, this one is all about ensuring at least 50% of cars are ultra-low emission by 2030, and ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to support this.

If you’re in charge of a ‘workplace’, the good news is that on the back of Road to Zero, the Workplace Charging Scheme will now contribute 75% of purchase and installation costs (up to a maximum of £500) towards the cost of each charging socket installed. 

The grant is available for to 20 chargepoints per applicant, across all sites.

In other words, up to £10,000 per business.

 
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Topics: EV charging

Choosing an Electric Car Charger for a Commercial New Build Specification

Erica Charles Jul 9, 2018 4:52:40 PM

If you are involved in electrical specifying, it’s only a matter of time before you are going to have to specify electric car chargers as standard on many of your commercial sites.

 

Whether you are installing a single commercial chargepoint, or a multi-site network, there are a few things you need to consider when choosing a charger brand and model.

 

We’ve written a 2 minute guide below:

 
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Topics: EV charging, EVBox

Free CPD Training - Solar PV and / or Battery Storage - Our Offices or Yours

Erica Charles Jun 15, 2018 10:55:01 AM

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 may be interested in our FREE training courses.

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Topics: CPD Training

Solar Panel Bird-Proofing Without Voiding the Panel Warranty

Erica Charles Apr 11, 2018 1:40:19 PM

If you are in charge of specify or installing on-roof solar panels, you should consider installing solar panel protection to stop birds from nesting under the panels. 

 

Nesting birds cause problems for solar panels and increase the need for general building maintenance. 

 

Luckily the industry has now developed well-proven solutions for solar panel protection: solar mesh and solar bird spikes.

 

Why are nesting birds a problem for solar systems?

 

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Topics: Solar panel bird proofing, Solar panel protection

Electric car charging points installation: focus on EV Box

Erica Charles Mar 16, 2018 8:36:36 AM

By 2020, a business with 100 employees can expect to have 10 employees with an electric car

It is hardly surprising that we are gradually seeing the inclusion of EV charging points in new build specifications, both residential and commercial.  

If you are needing to specify EV chargers in a project, what functionality should you look for, and which brand should you choose?

 
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Topics: EV charging, EVBox

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