Once again we’re taking a look back at a year that’s been anything but ordinary. Changes have come thick and fast, in our daily lives, the renewables industry, environmental legislation and Spirit itself.
Read on for a roundup of all that’s happened in 2021...
- The energy crisis dominated headlines in the autumn and looks set to continue over winter. Numerous suppliers have gone bust as wholesale energy prices soared and the price cap prevented them passing this onto customers (for now at least, but our bills will likely go up in April). This has kept our team busier than ever as demand for solar’s energy independence shot up.
- Next year sees changes to the OZEV grant for EV charger installs. It’s closing to most homeowners, meaning we won’t sell any projects including the grant from January onwards. (The commercial grant, however, is actually expanding.)
- After sustained industry lobbying, the government announced that commercial solar PV and battery storage installations will be exempt from business rates from April 2023 - a change that will make the process of investing in commercial PV much simpler.
- In what’s been another very difficult year for many, we’re grateful to say Spirit is still going strong. We were pleased to welcome new team members: Megan and Najey in Technical Sales, and Connor and Jana in Project Management, while veteran advisor Mark took over the reins as Head of Sales. You may also have noticed we debuted our new logo (including the long overdue addition of ‘Energy’).
- Recognition is always flattering, and this year we received Tesla’s Performance Excellence Award, as well as a couple of commendations at the Energy Efficiency Awards (Best Solar PV Installer and Energy Efficiency Champion in the South East).
- Sharing knowledge is a core part of our mission, so we’ve continued hosting regular online CPD sessions (each of which can now be viewed on demand), published 48 blog posts and produced a new self builder’s guide to renewable energy.
- Equally important is getting involved in the local community. In just the last few months, we’ve presented a talk at Reading Climate Festival, spoken to the public at a COP26 event in our hometown, and joined a panel discussion at Solar & Storage Live.
- Of course, none of this has distracted us from the day-to-day business of installing lots and lots of solar. Highlights include a whopping 217kWp system at Old Thorns Hotel, which you can see in the drone footage below, and chatting to Mark Sanders about his solar and battery powered home.
- The IPCC released its landmark report collating the latest scientific research on climate change. The report was authored by over 700 experts, citing 14,000 peer-reviewed papers to conclude that it is ‘unequivocal’ that humans have warmed the planet, causing ‘widespread and rapid changes’.
- In November, world leaders came together for COP26 and agreed measures such as the Glasgow Climate Pact (to ‘phasedown’ coal and end ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies), alongside methane and deforestation pledges to tackle global heating. Meanwhile, the IEA advised that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees requires no more fossil fuel development...
- Progress towards an electric car future is ramping up with the new petrol and diesel car ban brought forward to 2030 and mandatory chargepoints in new builds from next year.
- The UK government announced that we will see zero carbon electricity by 2035, one of the few sectors that has already witnessed a massive fall in carbon intensity.
- Signs the tide may be turning against big polluters were crystallised by the so-called ‘Black Wednesday’, a single 24-hour period in which investors demanded accelerated climate action from Chevron and Exxon, and the Dutch High Court ruled Shell must slash its emissions 45% by 2030 to keep in line with the Paris Agreement.
We’re optimistic that 2022 will be another strong year for renewable energy as more people look to live sustainably and counter spiralling energy prices. On the home front, it should be an exciting time for Spirit, with a long-awaited office move and a long-delayed trade show in the summer. But more than anything, we can’t wait to bring solar to lots more homes and businesses!
Please note that the office will be closed from 25 December - 3 January inclusive, so we won’t be around to answer the phone during that time and there may be a delay responding to emails on our return.
In the meantime, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and we’ll see you again in the new year!