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Solar Panel Cycle Path

It was only back in May of this year that we commented on the development of solar panels to be used on road networks in the USA. This was a system called Solar Roadways. Well, we have now heard about solar panels being used for a cycle path that we thought you would find of interest.

are solar panel cycle paths likely to become popular in the UK?

Will we see solar panel cycle paths in the UK in the future?

It probably does not come as a surprise to read that this bike path is in the vicinity of Amsterdam in Holland. The capital city of that country is renowned for the number of bicycles that are ridden by people whether it is for leisure purposes or to commute to and from work.

Apparently, the cycle path runs between Krommenie and Wormerveer that is used by around 2,000 commuters to cycle to and from work each day. The path is only about 230 feet. It has a solar surface to provide energy from the sun’s rays. Over a period of time it is expected that the path will be lengthened. It is to be opened on the 12th November 2014.

The path has been constructed using concrete modules and solar cells. Unfortunately, it will not generate as much power as solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of homes as the panels have been laid fairly flat resulting in 30% less energy being produced.

The system is strong enough to take the weight of lorries so it possibly has the potential to be used on road systems in the future. This will be interesting because the energy generated could possibly be used to help provide the electricity for street lighting that is no doubt normally a considerable expense to local councils.

We do like to keep our readers up dated about interesting solar panel projects so feel free to let us know about any that you hear of and we will happily report on them.

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M & S Installing UK’s Largest Rooftop Solar Panel Array

Marks & Spencer PLC are one of the most well known high street retailers in the UK selling the likes of food, clothing and home furnishings. Like many retailers, in line with demand from customers, they have also moved into selling certain items online.

M and S are installing a solar panel array on the roof of its distribution centre in Castle Donington

Marks & Spencer is one of the best known retail outlets in the UK

You may be interested to know that M & S has commenced installing solar panels on the roof of its distribution centre in Castle Donington in Leicestershire. They are having in excess of 24,000 solar panels mounted on the roof of this commercial building covering an area of around 900,000 sq ft. This will make it the single, largest rooftop solar panel installation anywhere in the UK.This centre deals with the goods that the company sells through its website.

It is expected that the project will be finished in the early part of next year when it is forecast to provide almost enough energy to operate the distribution centre during the daytime. These solar panels will ensure a significant volume of carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere in the next few years.

Of course, M & S is not the only major retailer that is heavily into using solar panels to provide energy towards powering its buildings. We have previously reported about Sainsbury’s who, by the spring of next year, should have in the region of 170,000 solar panels installed on some of the premises that it occupies.

It is large solar panel arrays like these that will help the UK in its desire to achieve its renewable energy and carbon emission targets by 2020 as well as the many installations that take place atop the homes of people residing in the UK.

We are keen to hear about any other interesting solar photovoltaic panel schemes that have either been completed, are in the throes of installation or are going to be so feel free to leave your comments.

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Solar Panels Floating On Water

The majority of solar panel installations take place on either roofs of houses or commercial buildings or they are also ground mounted. The later tend to be less conspicuous for obvious reasons.

it appears reservoirs could provide useful space to have solar panels installed on their surface

Will we see more solar panels being installed on the surface of reservoirs?

In fact, there cannot be many of you reading this news article that have not seen solar panels atop the home of someone in the street that you live in – so popular have they become. Not only are they capable of reducing your energy bills but they also help reduce carbon emissions and that is good for the environment.

Well, whilst not believed to be a first in the world, we have heard of a solar panel development that is possibly the first of its kind in the UK. Apparently, a soft fruit farm in Berkshire has had solar panels installed on a reservoir of water.

There are 800 solar photovoltaic panels. They have been placed on plastic floats on the reservoir. The water from the reservoir is used to irrigate the fruit trees.

The fruit farm already use solar panels that were previously installed to provide power for various other things on the farm. Apparently, the cost of installing this latest set of solar panels cost £250,000.

This sounds like it was a very interesting project. It makes you think what an opportunity it could present on other reservoirs and lakes located around the UK. After all, many of them are never likely to have their surfaces used for anything and it seems such a waste of valuable space.

Presumably, the solar panel scheme on the reservoir mentioned above is cost effective so are we likely to see it happening more frequently? As always, we will let you know should we hear of this or any other interesting solar panel projects taking place in the future.

In the meantime, feel free to leave your comments about the above.

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IEA Feel Positive About Solar Power

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is involved in ensuring the 29 countries that are a member of it including the UK, USA and Germany but not China have clean, affordable and reliable energy. It has produced a report that is favorable towards solar power that is, potentially, good news for the solar photovoltaic industry.

the solar panel industry seems to have a bright future

The future continues to look bright for the solar panel industry

Apparently, it feels that solar energy may end up being the main source of producing electricity by the year 2050. It feels that 16% of electricity produced around the world by 2050 could be generated by solar panels and a further 11% of the world’s electricity could come from solar thermal electricity (STE). At the moment, solar power produces less than 1% of the world’s energy so this would be a significant increase.

As you will no doubt be aware, there are targets in place to achieve a certain level of electricity by 2020 by renewable energy sources. Comments like the above can only help drive the industry on towards helping to achieve those targets.

Of course, the industry is no doubt being helped by the reduction in the cost of solar panels that has been seen in the last few years.

China is very much at the forefront of the drive towards greater use of solar power followed by the USA with Germany being the front-runner in Europe. Here in the UK we continue to hear of new solar panel installations taking place both on residential and commercial properties and on land that has been used for agricultural purposes. We welcome receiving news from a variety of sources about such installations taking place so do let us know by leaving your comments.

For all those in the solar panels industry we are sure that you will agree, if the above were to become reality, the future of the industry is a rosy one.

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Thornbury Fire Station’s Solar Panels Performing Well

It is great to hear good news about the success of solar panels as it is likely to encourage others to take the plunge and invest in this environmentally friendly source of energy. The more individuals and businesses in the UK and beyond that have them installed the more likely we are going to hit our carbon emission targets by 2020.

Thornbury Fire Station had 50 solar photvoltaic panels installed in April 2014

Thornbury Fire Station is using solar panels

We have heard that, back in April 2014, Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) took the plunge and had 50 solar panels placed upon Thornbury Fire Station’s roof. Well, you will be pleased to hear, these solar panels are already producing sufficient power that would have been capable of providing electricity for a home for 12 months – 4,000 kW hours of electricity. Another pleasing factor is that this performance is in excess of what was being predicted.

The solar panels were fitted at a time when the fire station was undertaking roofing improvements so it no doubt made sense to have them installed around the same time. As a result of the above fire service’s Carbon Management Plan there has been a reduction in the amount of energy consumed by almost a third in a period of 5 years that is a commendable achievement.

We have also heard that Yorkshire Ambulance Service is to have solar panels installed on 175 of their ambulances. The benefit to the ambulance service is that they will be able to keep the batteries in the ambulances charged up without the need to keep the engine ticking over. This will no doubt be of benefit to the environment as it will reduce carbon emissions emanating from the exhausts of the ambulances.

The above news items are certainly positive moves on the part of those involved in making such decisions.

As always, we would welcome the thoughts of our readers so feel free to leave your comments below.

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Could More Windows Be Used As Solar Photovoltaic Panels?

If the phrase “solar panels” crops up in a conversation perhaps with your next door neighbor who is considering having them installed you immediately think of such panels being placed on top of his or her roof. Alternatively, you may imagine a part of your neighbour’s garden being taken up by ground mounted solar panels.

glass windows may have transparent solar panels placed on them

Could solar panels like these be replaced by transparent panels placed on glass windows?

There are some people who think that such panels look rather unsightly which is one reason why some decide not to have them installed even though they could save on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.

However, if a team of research staff at Michigan State University in the United States of America have their way we may be seeing people making use of solar energy without the need to install such solar panel units. This is because transparent panels have been developed at the university.

We have previously written about new built properties in the likes of Australia having solar panel windows incorporated into the construction process but these colourless panels could be put onto glass windows. Organic molecules are utilized to absorb sunlight that is then made into electricity.

Can you imagine the potential usage of such panels? Not only could they be used on residential properties but just think of all those skyscraper office buildings that were made using the likes of thousands of glass panels. At the moment, the transparent panels are still in the development stage as they need to be made more efficient but we are sure that you will agree the above does sound very promising.

It will be interesting to monitor this research over the coming months and years. We wonder what impact it may have on the traditionally manufactured solar photovoltaic panels.

As always, we welcome your comments so do feel free to have your say.

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Solar Panels – Do They Appeal To You?

When it comes to making your home more energy efficient there are a number of ways of doing this. You may decide to have double-glazing fitted, loft or cavity wall insulation put in or solar panels fitted to your roof.

solar panels would be a popular home improvement choice for homeowners

Solar panels are a popular home improvement installation choice in the UK

Interestingly, a survey carried out on behalf of Ocean Finance has revealed that as many as 20% of owners of properties would like to have solar panels fitted at their homes. This is pleasing to read. In addition, the survey found that 4% of homeowners were intending to have solar photovoltaic panels installed. Furthermore, over 5% have already had solar panels fitted.

Another interesting statistic revealed that London was the most popular place to have solar panels fitted with 15% of homeowners in the capital doing so. On a percentage basis, this is almost twice as many as the second placed region of East Anglia on 8%.

Disappointingly, around 50% of those taking part in the survey indicated that they were not interested in fitting solar panels with the main reason being the cost of doing so. Therefore, it would appear that the solar panel industry needs to do more to encourage the take-up of this energy saving scheme especially if the UK is to achieve its renewable energy and carbon emission targets by 2020. In this respect, it is interesting to hear that the Green Deal scheme has recently been closed to new applications as it has very quickly been fully funded.

There seems to be a large focus on the installation of solar panels on commercial properties in recent months which is understandable but we should not loose sight of the importance homeowners can have on this energy source.

If having solar panels fitted appeals to you then you should contact two or three companies to obtain competitive quotes and have an assessment carried out of their financial viability.

As always, we welcome our readers’ comments.

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Which Way Should Solar Panels Face?

It has been felt by the majority of people involved in the solar panel industry that solar panels should be installed facing south as they catch more of the sunlight. It is interesting therefore that, apparently, a solar panel technology expert who is a professor from Loughborough University has expressed an opinion that greater benefit could emanate from solar panels if they were able to be positioned facing east and west alternately.

questions are being asked about which direction solar panels should face

Are east – west facing solar panels more beneficial than south facing ones? – Image credit: Elliott Brown.

Apparently, positioning the solar panels in such a way would even out the daily distribution of power that presently peaks around mid-day when a lot of people are at work and many are not able to use the power generated which ends up in the National Grid. He is not for one minute suggesting that those homeowners with solar panels already fitted should make any changes to the direction in which they are facing.

Apparently, the Solar Trade Association has said that there is little difference between the amount of electricity generated between south facing and east-west facing solar panels. It is interesting that, in Germany, they are said to be now installing solar panels in the way the professor at Loughborough University has suggested.

The positioning of solar panels on a roof has no doubt tended to be, in part, based upon the direction either roof surface is facing and placing them on the side of the roof felt to gain maximum exposure to sunlight.

However, presumably the fitting process could be adapted if it was felt the above suggestion was a good one?

As always, we would very much welcome the thoughts of our readers about the above. The solar panel industry will no doubt continue to evolve in the coming years and this may be just one way that it can change but only if it is felt to be in the best interest of the consumer.

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Council To Provide 1,500 Homes With Solar Panels

We have been saying for quite some time that the UK needs an increasing number of large solar panel projects to come to fruition to help the country achieve its renewable energy targets by 2020. We cannot just rely on individual homeowners “taking the plunge” and investing in solar photovoltaic panels.

solar panels are a great way of possibly lowering your energy bills

Installing solar panels could reduce your energy bills

We are pleased to have read that the executive board of Warrington Borough Council has committed £5.25 million to provide three sheltered housing schemes as well as solar panels for 1,500 properties. Golden Gates Housing Trust is in partnership with the council in this respect. It is being forecast that tenants could each see a reduction in their energy bills of as much as £233 per annum.

This saving is a significant figure at a time when energy prices have been on the increase and is no doubt going to be welcomed by the occupants of those homes in the current economic climate. An income is to be received by Warrington Borough Council to fund the project.

There are no doubt many projects that have and are taking place around the UK that will help us improve the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. We have mentioned many schemes in recent months and let us hope that we continue to report on new ones that come to our attention.

There has been much debate about the building of solar farms in the countryside. As is usually the case, there are some people that are in favour and some firmly against such schemes. It is important that the concerns of local residents are listened to and taken into account over such projects which is something that the government wishes to see happening.

The installation of solar panels are undoubtedly having an impact on helping the country improve its carbon footprint and reduce energy bills for both residential and commercial properties.

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Government Keen On Raising Take Up Of Commercial Rooftops For Solar Panels

On more than one occasion we have made our views clear with regard to some of the things that need to happen in order for the UK to achieve its renewable energy target by 2020. It is important that as many large solar arrays are installed but of course taking into account the views of the local community.

Greg Barker wants to see an increase in the uptake of solar power

Greg Barker is a keen advocate of solar power- Image credit: University of Salford Press Office.

There would appear to be an awful lot of scope to utilize the rooftops of numerous commercial buildings on our trading estates and retail parks around the UK for solar panels. It would be interesting if you were in a position to have a birds-eye view of a typical trading estate as there is no doubt that you would find a larger percentage of buildings without solar panels fitted to their rooftops.

It is interesting that Greg Barker who is the minister for climate change has said that the Department of Communities and Local Government are to discuss over the summer period the possibility of making it easier to install solar panels on commercial properties with large roofs with a capacity of up to 1MW.

He has also confirmed that on 9th September 2014 he is to host a meeting of solar stakeholders including developers of solar panels, estate agents, large retailers, solicitors and landlords with a view to getting rid of the barriers that exist between some landlords and their tenants when it comes to installing solar panels.

Apparently, according to DECC, there are about 250,000 hectares of roof space on commercial properties that are facing south that would be suitable for the installation of solar panels.

It will be interesting to see what transpires from these initiatives in the coming months. It is forecast that if only a part of the available commercial rooftop space were used for solar panels then it would make a big dent in the 20GW target the UK is striving to achieve by 2020.

We will keep you updated.

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