02 Aug 2013

Why the sun is still shining for solar pv

THE window of opportunity for solar energy development is still open to farmers and landowners in the UK, particularly in the South West of England, according to ground mounted solar construction specialist and Krinner UK installation partner,  JPCS.

Following reductions in both the Government’s Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) payments, many would-be developers have mistakenly believed solar farms are no longer viable, but JPCS is keen to ensure landowners are aware that positive returns will still be generated.

With 70 solar farms in the South West running at a combined capacity of 290MWp, JPCS believes there are also many undeveloped opportunities, including over 200MW in Cornwall with approved planning, which could double this figure in five years.

Government reports show that between June 2011 and June 2012 there was a 27 per cent increase in the amount of renewable electricity generated from solar energy in the UK. This figure is set to grow even more this year and, as the South West is one the sunniest areas of the UK, future progression is going to be driven by this region.

Peter Shone, managing director at JPCS, said: “Solar energy was not included as part of the Government’s top 10 renewable energy sources in 2011, but in less than 12 months it is predicted to have taken the fourth spot for renewable electrical energy generation in the UK.

“However many landowners are still hesitant about investing in ground mounted solar because of the initial installation cost. That’s why we have developed our foundation products and mounting frames, as well as our construction methods, to provide significant reductions in solar build costs. In particular the innovative ground screw foundation system, which provides notable installation benefits.”

“The reduced installation costs mean farmers, landowners and scheme developers can still generate substantial, above-market, returns from ground mounted solar.”

The Krinner ground screw is a robust and sustainable alternative to traditional concrete foundations. The system removes the need for excavation and concreting, reducing construction costs and times.

The Krinner ground screw foundation has proved highly effective: sufficiently flexible to survive high wind loads and work in extreme temperatures and adverse geological conditions, with the advantages of rapid installation and minimal maintenance. JPCS has completed more than 55MWp of solar PV construction using the ground screw foundation, with over 30MWp constructed in the first quarter of 2013 alone, in less than 16 weeks, and in some of the worst weather conditions in the last 50 years.