Markets open for photovoltaic renewable energy

Related tags Renewable energy Photovoltaics

Britain may not be able to boast anywhere near the hours of sunshine of some Mediterranean countries, but that doesn’t mean companies based here can’t benefit from greater use of photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy sources.

According to Dave Baston, general manager in the UK and Ireland for Emerson subsidiary Control Techniques, new potential business markets are opening up for PV within the UK. For companies situated below a line running across the country roughly from Bristol to the Wash in East Anglia, the use of PV is feasible, claimed Baston.

The renewables market has been boosted by the introduction of feed-in tariffs (FIT) a subsidy for generating up to 5MW of electricity from wind, solar or anaerobic digestion introduced last April to encourage people to invest in renewable energy.

"Now we have one of the most attractive feed-in-tariffs in Europe,"​ said Baston. However, Germany is the biggest market for PV in the EU, with about one-third of the capacity installed, followed by Italy and Spain. However, it has emerged that the government plans to bring forward a review of the scheme's tariffs originally planned for 2013.

While UK retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury are leading those showing interest in PV, claimed Baston, there is no reason why manufacturers and other warehouse owners with lots of potential roof area should not also investigate its potential.

Meanwhile, more than 3MW of PV generation capacity has recently been installed on four Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company sites in Italy by Solar Integrated Technologies and power company ContourGlobal (see picture, left), following other recent installations in Europe and the US.

For projects in the UK, Control Techniques has introduced a novel 'transformerless' central inverter system, SPV, for utility scale PV power plants operating in the range 145kW to 1.76MW.

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