Contractor Blog

George Riley

Recent Posts

Van der Valk Ground Mounted Solar Panels: A Cost Efficient Alternative

George Riley · 13 Oct 2021

We’ve written before about the possibilities of domestic ground mounted solar panels, and now there is an exciting development that could make these types of installation even more affordable. By essentially using the same mounting systems we use for flat roof PV, we can install Van der Valk ground mounted solar panels to cut time and costs for our clients.

Let’s take a look at how it works.

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Topics: Solar PV

Spirit Energy Wins Tesla Installer Award

George Riley · 07 Oct 2021

We’re thrilled to announce some exciting Tesla news (and it’s not Elon Musk’s new robot). Spirit has won Tesla’s Performance Excellence Award!

This recognises our work installing hundreds of Powerwalls to the exacting standards that enable us to be a Tesla Certified Installer. Much to our delight, the company also highlighted the value of our informative, impartial content in educating people about renewables and energy storage.

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Topics: Battery storage, Spirit Energy news, Tesla Powerwall, Environment

Heterojunction Solar Cells Boost PV Efficiency

George Riley · 08 Sep 2021

The world of solar cell development is a mass of competing technologies: an alphabet soup of acronyms and jargon. If you need to know your n-type HJT from your PERC P-N junction, this is the blog for you.

Heterojunction solar cells are one of the technologies touted to maximise potential PV panel efficiency. They are a combination of classic crystalline silicon and amorphous/thin film cells, theoretically providing the best of both worlds.

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Topics: Solar PV

Solar Panel Recycling Solutions

George Riley · 02 Sep 2021

Not many PV panels have yet reached their end of life, but this is likely to accelerate in the 2030s as early systems (particularly those installed during the FiT boom) begin to reach old age.

Some panels, however, do get damaged, malfunction or are replaced for newer modules, becoming complex electronic waste.

What happens to the modules next is vital to ensuring solar remains one of the most sustainable forms of energy. The good news is that work is underway to tackle the complexities of solar panel recycling...

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Topics: Maintenance, Solar PV, Environment

Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme

George Riley · 19 Aug 2021

If you own a large generator, you may have received a letter recently about the Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme. This is related to an upcoming regulation change that may affect you and require you to make a change to your system.

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Topics: Maintenance, Solar PV, Inverters

Checking in on Old Thorns Hotel's Solar Installation

George Riley · 12 Aug 2021

We’re delighted to share a look behind the scenes at one of our recent big commercial installs: a huge 217kWp solar PV system at Old Thorns Hotel in Liphook.

Old Thorns is a vast resort with a golf course, spa, bars and restaurants, over 150 rooms, and self catering apartments. With such a lot of activity on site, energy demand is substantial to say the least. Solar PV offered a chance to cut down the club’s electricity bills, while also becoming a more sustainable venue.

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Topics: Spirit Energy news, Financing, Solar PV

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