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Our Blogs

We have three blogs at Spirit, covering renewable energy from a homeowner, commercial and contractor perspective. Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in solar PV, battery storage and EV charging.

Recent posts

Solar Panel Output

Posted by David Woon on 18 Jul 2019

Why does the solar panel output matter?

When installing solar panels there are many things to deliberate over, whether that be the price or aesthetics, but probably the most important metric to consider is the output. More often than not the price you pay for an installation will be relative to the power output of the system. The rated power output or wattage of a panel represents the theoretical power output under ideal conditions and is a strong indication of the amount of electricity a panel will generate. However; there are factors other than the panel’s wattage to consider when determining its output or energy generation. 

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Black Solar Panels

Posted by George Riley on 11 Jul 2019

Why are solar panels blue (usually)?

The standard solar panels that you see most commonly on rooftops are a shimmering blue colour. This is because they are made from polycrystalline silicon - lots of crystals melted together.

But you may have also seen black solar panels - these are monocrystalline. Formed from single silicon crystals, they have a greater efficiency and (in many people’s opinion) a more attractive appearance.

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Bifacial Solar Panels and the Albedo Effect

Posted by Erica Charles on Jul 1, 2019 10:54:26 AM

One of the most notable trends in the solar PV market in the last couple of years has been the growth in bifacial solar panels.

The 2019 International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) predicts that bifacial cells will increase their share of the solar PV market from around 15% in 2019 to 60% in 2029.

So, time to sit up and take notice. What are bifacial PV modules, and why are they set to dominate the market over the next 10 years?

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Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2019? Yes, Solar Power Costs around 9p/kWh!

Posted by Erica Charles on 25 Jun 2019

This year saw the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants, leaving a very different landscape to the heady days of 2010, when the feed-in tariff scheme was first launched and the subsidy was around 43p per kWh.  So, are solar panels worth it today?

Speaking purely from a financial point of view, the answer is a resounding yes. Of course beyond the financial, there are many other environmental benefits to be gained from installing solar, installing residential battery storage, driving an electric vehicle etc. Not least because they all contribute directly or indirectly to tackling air pollution, which, we are told, is gradually destroying the nation's health.

Back to the financials. The solar subsidy may have fallen, but so has the cost of the technology. Overall the cost of domestic solar electricity is now around 9p per kWh. This is well below the 15p average domestic import cost from the grid (which, by the way, increased by 7% in the last 12 months...).

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Free Solar Panels for Business: Meet Solar PPAs

Posted by George Riley on Jun 19, 2019 9:21:33 AM

Is it possible to get free solar panels for businesses? A lot has changed since solar first started gaining popularity, with prices falling around 50% in the last decade and many of the initial subsidies like the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants. But there are still opportunities for companies to benefit from financed solar systems, the most promising of which are Solar PPAs.

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The Current State of Solar Energy: Taking Stock of the PV Market

Posted by Erica Charles on Jun 5, 2019 12:58:21 PM

When you work at the coal face of the solar industry (get your head 🙃 around that one), it is sometimes interesting to take a step back to see where the market has come from and where it’s headed.

We’ve spent some time taking stock of the solar PV market. Here’s a summary…

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Best Angle for Solar Panels in the UK and Beyond?

Posted by Erica Charles on May 3, 2019 12:42:27 PM

The best direction for a roof with solar panels is dead south. Except if you're in the Southern Hemisphere when you want it to be facing north. Which is why solar panels are like bath water spiralling down the plug hole. 

But few people in Guildford have a roof that faces exactly south. And few people in Guinea have a roof that faces exactly north. So the key question for many of us is, "How much solar generation do I lose if my panels don’t face exactly south?" 

Which is the best angle for solar panels?

The optimum roof angle of photovoltaic panels in the UK is 35-40 degrees.  The exact angle depends on the latitude. Which is why the best roof angle will be different in other parts of the world.

For various reasons we have recently been looking at the performance of solar panels in Africa, Mexico and Spain.

If like me, you are curious as to the performance of solar and the best orientation for solar panels in other parts of the world, here’s what we found.

 

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Spirit Energy Now Accepts SolarCoins: Air Miles for Solar Electricity

Posted by Erica Charles on Sep 28, 2018 4:00:00 PM

We hear more and more about Blockchain technology.  The technology creates a transparent public ledger that records series of transactions, facilitating a fast, low-cost, trusted transfer of value without the involvement of traditional intermediaries.  

Already used in the financial sector, it’s only a matter of time before Blockchain hits the energy sector in a major way, particularly with the explosion of micro-generation of electricity, the ending of solar subsidies, and the advent of smart meters.

With Octopus Energy claiming to have paid customers to use excess electricity at night on four occasions in the last 12 months, real time peer-to-peer trading of electricity is surely just around the corner. Other potential applications include authentication of renewable generation and trading of emissions permits.

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Road to Zero: Workplace Charging Grant Increases to £500 per Chargepoint

Posted by Erica Charles on Jul 20, 2018 2:48:56 PM

On 9th July, the government launched its “Road to Zero Strategy” to lead the world in zero emission vehicle technology.

Not to be confused with any other ‘Road to Zero’ or ‘Round in Circle’ government strategies, this one is all about ensuring at least 50% of cars are ultra-low emission by 2030, and ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to support this.

If you’re in charge of a ‘workplace’, the good news is that on the back of Road to Zero, the Workplace Charging Scheme will now contribute 75% of purchase and installation costs (up to a maximum of £500) towards the cost of each charging socket installed. 

The grant is available for to 20 chargepoints per applicant, across all sites.

In other words, up to £10,000 per business.

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