• Solar power community Q&A - the replies

    Thanks everyone for taking part in a Pure Planet Community Q&A about solar power.

    Following a recent visit to a solar farm in Devon, we invited questions from Members about solar power.

    One of our energy suppliers Lightsource BP and @Pedal from our marketing team have been through your questions posted here and have your answers!

    Nice one for taking part.

    Question from @Lenny
    One question I meant to ask when I was on the trip was 'Do they get paid for not supplying electricity when there is over capacity?
    Hi @Lenny
    Nice to ‘see’ you again!
    We do not get paid when we’re not generating electricity.


    Question from @Jenam93
    Now that the Feed In Tariffs (FIT) have been ended, is it true that it would effectively take 25 years or more (the further north you are, the longer it takes) before the cost of installation finally pays itself off?
    If the above is true and it drives down residential solar panel take up, will there be any effect on the solar power market as a whole?
    Hi @Jenam93
    We can’t really talk about residential solar panels as we’re in the business of developing large-scale solar developments to provide power to companies like Pure Planet.
    The way we finance and develop our solar farms is based on quite complex financial models, particularly in a subsidy-free era. Our business model is based on developing efficient large-scale solar projects that can compete with energy prices and provide a return to our investors and ourselves.




    Question from @woz
    Did anyone ask whether there was any storage capacity built into the system?
    The solution to the switching off is to either find a way of storing the excess energy, or increase the demand on the grid (export, furnaces etc.)
    The best solution would be to find a way to throttle the fossil powered stations back sufficiently, without taking them offline, but probably not possible as I’m sure they would do it rather than having to pay for forced downtime. It seems ridiculous to have to continue to burn fossil fuels when there is a low to no emission alternative.
    Just goes to show what a very long way we have to go...and just how precarious the grid is.
    Great observations @woz
    Energy storage would be a great way to store excess energy, particularly in the evenings when the energy demand is high and but your panels are not producing power.
    At the moment storage doesn’t work with grid-connected solar projects.
    However, we are building into our designs the ability to add storage ready for the future. Solar storage as a technology is still relatively new and its development is being invested in so we would imagine that it won’t be long before it is adopted.
    On a residential level, storage is more common and can give the electricity consumer much more control allowing them to maximise the amount of solar energy used in the home.


    Question from @Jowl
    I'm totally lost on the Feed in Tariff etc and the above is a good question - how long until it pays for itself. Is it better to rent (your roof) or purchase them outright = for residential
    Interested in storage too - the Tesla powerwall looks interesting - do the solar farms using something on a larger commercial scale?
    I really want to get into solar but it seems a large initial cost and I've no confidence in the government that they'll promote / help with this anytime soon.

    Hi @Jowl, as with our reply to @woz above we can’t really comment with regard to residential solar but would recommend you research the various solutions available to decide what best suits you.
    There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and you should discuss your options with a specialist solar installer before making a decision.
    Adding storage to your home solar solution gives you even more control of your energy usage allowing you to store spare energy that your solar panels have generated during the day (rather than selling back into the grid) and use it in the evening (when electricity from the grid is the most expensive).
    Storage is an excellent solution for domestic installations, but the technology is not yet fully developed to the extent where it’s a useful addition for utility-scale installation, though it is on the horizon.

    Question from @Jon1
    With the efficiency of solar panels being approx 40% of capacity are there plans to introduce storage to some solar sites to even out distribution at night?
    How do you mitigate the way in which planning rules are interpreted by different councils across the country. And do you have a preference for the type of land suitable for mass installation.do you purchase your own land for some installs or is it all leased.
    Panel efficiency is affected by a variety of factors including weather, time of year, levels of irradiation and their location. We are always looking for ways to produce as much energy from our solar panels as possible including researching bi-facial panels - capturing energy from sunlight reflected off the ground onto the underside of a solar panel.
    Solar storage will help mitigate solar panels will stop producing power at night however until a suitable storage solution is developed we will continue to focus on day-time panel efficiency.

    For our commercial customers, who we supply electricity through directly from a dedicated solar farm, solar storage is more viable. Like a residential customer, solar storage allows them to ‘load shift’ their power consumption from daytime to nighttime.
    With reference to the second half of your question, once we have identified a potential site, we meet with councils to understand their interpretations and how favourable they are to a project such as a solar farm. We also host community consultations to gauge local opinions and feedback before submitting a planning application. Our planning applications comprise a full environmental impact assessment and often include measures that improve local biodiversity.
    The land criteria vary on location, and we usually prioritise land that isn’t categorised as being of high agricultural value. Whether we lease or own the land our solar farms sit on depends on a range of factors, but the majority is rented.

    Community Manager - Pure Planet

    2
  • Thanks everyone for taking part in a Pure Planet Community Q&A about solar power.

    Following a recent visit to a solar farm in Devon, we invited questions from Members about solar power.

    One of our energy suppliers Lightsource BP and @Pedal from our marketing team have been through your questions posted here and have your answers!

    Nice one for taking part.

    Question from @Lenny
    One question I meant to ask when I was on the trip was 'Do they get paid for not supplying electricity when there is over capacity?
    Hi @Lenny
    Nice to ‘see’ you again!
    We do not get paid when we’re not generating electricity.


    Question from @Jenam93
    Now that the Feed In Tariffs (FIT) have been ended, is it true that it would effectively take 25 years or more (the further north you are, the longer it takes) before the cost of installation finally pays itself off?
    If the above is true and it drives down residential solar panel take up, will there be any effect on the solar power market as a whole?
    Hi @Jenam93
    We can’t really talk about residential solar panels as we’re in the business of developing large-scale solar developments to provide power to companies like Pure Planet.
    The way we finance and develop our solar farms is based on quite complex financial models, particularly in a subsidy-free era. Our business model is based on developing efficient large-scale solar projects that can compete with energy prices and provide a return to our investors and ourselves.




    Question from @woz
    Did anyone ask whether there was any storage capacity built into the system?
    The solution to the switching off is to either find a way of storing the excess energy, or increase the demand on the grid (export, furnaces etc.)
    The best solution would be to find a way to throttle the fossil powered stations back sufficiently, without taking them offline, but probably not possible as I’m sure they would do it rather than having to pay for forced downtime. It seems ridiculous to have to continue to burn fossil fuels when there is a low to no emission alternative.
    Just goes to show what a very long way we have to go...and just how precarious the grid is.
    Great observations @woz
    Energy storage would be a great way to store excess energy, particularly in the evenings when the energy demand is high and but your panels are not producing power.
    At the moment storage doesn’t work with grid-connected solar projects.
    However, we are building into our designs the ability to add storage ready for the future. Solar storage as a technology is still relatively new and its development is being invested in so we would imagine that it won’t be long before it is adopted.
    On a residential level, storage is more common and can give the electricity consumer much more control allowing them to maximise the amount of solar energy used in the home.


    Question from @Jowl
    I'm totally lost on the Feed in Tariff etc and the above is a good question - how long until it pays for itself. Is it better to rent (your roof) or purchase them outright = for residential
    Interested in storage too - the Tesla powerwall looks interesting - do the solar farms using something on a larger commercial scale?
    I really want to get into solar but it seems a large initial cost and I've no confidence in the government that they'll promote / help with this anytime soon.

    Hi @Jowl, as with our reply to @woz above we can’t really comment with regard to residential solar but would recommend you research the various solutions available to decide what best suits you.
    There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and you should discuss your options with a specialist solar installer before making a decision.
    Adding storage to your home solar solution gives you even more control of your energy usage allowing you to store spare energy that your solar panels have generated during the day (rather than selling back into the grid) and use it in the evening (when electricity from the grid is the most expensive).
    Storage is an excellent solution for domestic installations, but the technology is not yet fully developed to the extent where it’s a useful addition for utility-scale installation, though it is on the horizon.

    Question from @Jon1
    With the efficiency of solar panels being approx 40% of capacity are there plans to introduce storage to some solar sites to even out distribution at night?
    How do you mitigate the way in which planning rules are interpreted by different councils across the country. And do you have a preference for the type of land suitable for mass installation.do you purchase your own land for some installs or is it all leased.
    Panel efficiency is affected by a variety of factors including weather, time of year, levels of irradiation and their location. We are always looking for ways to produce as much energy from our solar panels as possible including researching bi-facial panels - capturing energy from sunlight reflected off the ground onto the underside of a solar panel.
    Solar storage will help mitigate solar panels will stop producing power at night however until a suitable storage solution is developed we will continue to focus on day-time panel efficiency.

    For our commercial customers, who we supply electricity through directly from a dedicated solar farm, solar storage is more viable. Like a residential customer, solar storage allows them to ‘load shift’ their power consumption from daytime to nighttime.
    With reference to the second half of your question, once we have identified a potential site, we meet with councils to understand their interpretations and how favourable they are to a project such as a solar farm. We also host community consultations to gauge local opinions and feedback before submitting a planning application. Our planning applications comprise a full environmental impact assessment and often include measures that improve local biodiversity.
    The land criteria vary on location, and we usually prioritise land that isn’t categorised as being of high agricultural value. Whether we lease or own the land our solar farms sit on depends on a range of factors, but the majority is rented.

    Community Manager - Pure Planet