Contractor Blog

George Riley

Recent Posts

N-type Silicon Solar Cells: The Future of Monocrystalline PV?

George Riley · 21 Jul 2021

Photovoltaic technology is forever changing, as researchers and developers pursue new ways to maximise performance. In recent years there has been an increasing focus on n-type silicon solar cells, which are doped with phosphorus rather than boron. They have the potential to reduce cell degradation and improve solar generation over the system’s lifetime. As such, n-type cells are being adopted by more manufacturers and may come to dominate the market...

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Topics: Solar PV

Lithium Battery Recycling: What Happens to Solar and EV Batteries?

George Riley · 30 Jun 2021

The demand for lithium ion batteries is rocketing. They are used in everything from mobile phones and laptops to electric cars and Tesla Powerwalls.

Data source: Bloomberg.

Energy dense lithium batteries are proving an invaluable technology in fighting our dependence on fossil fuels. They can help to decarbonise transport and store renewable energy from solar and wind. That’s one of the reasons the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the developers of the lithium ion battery.

But with a predicted 9,300GWh of Li-ion battery capacity by 2030, what will happen to all these devices at the end of their useful lifespan?

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Topics: Battery storage, Environment

Virtual Power Plants: Balancing the Grid with Solar and Batteries

George Riley · 03 Jun 2021

We’re in the midst of an energy revolution. Coal is due to be kicked off the grid by 2024, ending its 142 year reign. Solar and wind capacity has increased by 579% since 2010. The Big Six has been broken.

This rapid transformation of the UK’s electricity grid opens up many possibilities, and challenges. Chief among them is the precarious balance of supply and demand. Intermittent renewable generation, combined with electrified heating and transport, makes this a pressing task.

But can solar, alongside battery storage, be part of the solution? Find out how they can form part of ‘virtual power plants’ - the 21st century answer to the fossil giants of old.

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Topics: Battery storage, Solar PV, Tesla Powerwall

Introducing Meshwork: A Network for Sustainable Building Professionals

George Riley · 05 May 2021

We’re excited to introduce you to Meshwork, an online network for people working in the sustainable construction industry, or otherwise interested in how we can design more environmentally conscious buildings for the future.

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Topics: CPD training

Can You Go Off-Grid with Solar PV?

George Riley · 25 Mar 2021

With energy prices rising, we often get clients asking if they can go off-grid with solar PV. It’s an alluring idea, especially since affordable battery storage has brought greater grid independence within reach. But living entirely on solar power is not so simple.

In this blog, we’ll investigate how to go off the grid with solar panels and assess, crucially, if or when it’s worthwhile.

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Topics: Battery storage, Off grid, Solar PV

AC Solar Panels: Meet SunPower’s Maxeon 5

George Riley · 04 Mar 2021

A few years ago, SunPower struck a deal with Enphase. Part of this involved an agreement for SunPower, known for its high-efficiency solar modules, to integrate Enphase’s market-leading micro-inverters. We are now seeing the result of the collaboration coming to fruition with the release of the Maxeon 5, an AC solar panel touted by the company as the ‘most powerful’ domestic module available.

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Topics: Solar PV

Are Premium Solar Inverters Worth It?

George Riley · 27 Jan 2021

It’s something of a solar industry cliche, but the inverter really is the heart of a photovoltaic system. While solar panels harness the sun’s energy, it’s the inverter that converts this direct current (DC) into usable alternating current (AC) electricity. Yet, compared to the panels, inverters rarely get much discussion.

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Topics: Solar PV, Inverters

Spirit’s Year in Review 2020

George Riley · 17 Dec 2020

It’s fair to say this wasn’t quite the year any of us were hoping for.

But as 2020 draws to a close, we’d like to put the immeasurable challenges we’ve all faced to one side, and reflect on some of the positives this year has had to offer us. From sustaining the solar rollout to Tesla’s Energy Plan, there’s plenty to appreciate.

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Topics: Battery storage, Spirit Energy news, EV charging, Tariffs, Solar PV

Perovskite Solar Cells: PV Beyond Silicon

George Riley · 18 Nov 2020

Technological breakthroughs are a mainstay of the solar industry. One area of development that’s received a lot of chatter over the years is perovskite solar cells - an alternative to the silicon that all conventional solar cells are made from.

So why are people excited about perovskite, and will it be the future of photovoltaics?

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Topics: Solar PV

Export Limitation: The Saviour of Large PV Systems?

George Riley · 21 Oct 2020

When in the planning and design stages of a solar PV project, you may come across the term export limitation. Essentially the process involves fitting a device to cap exported power going from the solar system to the grid. But why would you want or need one? Read on to find out...

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Topics: Battery storage, Solar PV, Inverters