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Farmers advised to exercise ‘caution’ when signing up to any solar energy contract

Farmers advised to exercise ‘caution’ when signing up to any solar energy contract

Farmers thinking about the positive effect of solar energy. But according to the Chairman of IFA Renewables, James Murphy,  it says that the farmers have to be careful before signing up any agreement.

Speaking at an IFA seminar on solar energy he said that while there are good reasons to be optimistic about solar energy in Ireland, farmers should exercise caution in signing up to any agreement.

“Signing up to solar PV on your farm can provide an alternative source of income. However, as yet there is no certainty on the REFIT Tariff, grid connection policy or community involvement and until there is, farmers should exercise a cautious approach. All farmers should get legal advice before signing any agreement with solar development companies.”

He advised that the use of exclusivity agreements by solar companies represent a one-way-bet in which farmers take on all of the uncertainty and developers get all the commitments they need, usually at no cost.

Also he added that if a company is genuinely interested in developing on a farmer’s land, there should be no exclusivity agreement and the deal should move straight to option agreement discussions under which farmers should negotiate a guarantee base price.

“If you sign up to a exclusivity agreement with a solar development company, you are giving them a valuable asset but they are committing to nothing. Farmers need to ensure they are well advised and they get a fair deal.”

IFA President Joe Healy called on the Government to provide more certainty on solar energy so that its potential to assist in meeting emissions targets and in improving farm incomes can be realized,

In Ireland are more than 15,000 acres of farmland under some form of solar contract, whereupon Healy said that a number of crucial questions remain to be addresses, especially regarding the feed-in-tariff to be applied to solar generated energy, grid connection, farm scale projects and community participation in solar development projects.

The IFA President said the European Commission will next week set out Ireland’s emission reduction targets to be delivered by the year 2030 for the non-ETS sector. It includes farming and that solar energy has significant mitigation potential that could assist us in reaching those targets.

“The Government must come forward with greater policy certainty to facilitate this, as well as to deliver on our 2020 renewable energy obligations, on which we are currently falling short.”


IFA Renewables – The Irish Farmers’ Association was founded as the NFA on the 6th January, 1955, and celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2015. The country’s largest representative organisation for farmers and primary food producers is based on grass roots organisation and a strong democratic tradition of representation.

IFA has been the farmers’ voice for six decades in every single important decision impacting upon Ireland’s largest indigenous industry. At local, national and EU level, IFA’s active and dedicated voluntary officer structure works with a professional staff to improve farm incomes and address issues across the entire spectrum of food production, constantly adapting to a rapidly changing economic and political environment.

Posted in Renewable Energy, Solar Energy0 Comments

WElink Chinese deal targets 130MW

WElink Chinese deal targets 130MW

WElink Energy has signed an agreement with China National Building Materials Group (CNBM) to develop more than 130MW of solar projects in the UK in 2016.

CNBM, through its technology subsidiary China Triumph International Engineering Corp, and WElink have already built 64MWof solar projects. The two companies will now partner with British Solar Renewables to complete over 130MW.

The £1.1bn deal (€1.4bn) also includes plans to build housing units.

CNBM chairman Song Zhiping said concerning the news:

“WElink has been our trusted partner for the last five years and we are delighted to sign this strategic framework as a milestone for our rapid expansion in the UK and internationally in renewable energy and affordable housing.”

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MegaGroup announces new Bosnia-based PV ingots and wafer production plant

MegaGroup announces new Bosnia-based PV ingots and wafer production plant

Italian company MegaGroup is to build a manufacturing plant for solar products in Bosnia. The factory will have a capacity of 120MW a year and will be built on 20,000 square metres of land in Kozarska Dubica.

The €12.5m facility will make mono and polycrystalline silicon ingots and wafers for photovoltaic cells in its first phase, with commissioning expected by the end of 2016. 90 workers will be employed after being specifically trained to work in a high technology sector.

The later phase of the project foresees a further production capacity increase and establishment of other PV Value Chain parts, with an overall investment of 35 million Euros allowing the creation of one of the largest European photovoltaic plant, carrying the Italian flag.

MegaGroup president Franco Traverso commented :

“We will aim to start production of mono and polycrystalline silicon ingots and wafers by the end of 2016 in order to provide the raw materials for cells and modules production. This is the first step towards the creation of a world photovoltaic hub.”

Posted in Business, Solar Energy0 Comments

EU energy project : make photovoltaic technology full component of new buildings

EU energy project : make photovoltaic technology full component of new buildings

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see solar panels added to rooftops, but a new EU-funded project, “Construct PV”, is working on how to integrate photovoltaic (PV) systems into buildings from their very inception.

The new technology can be used to replace parts of conventional building materials, such as roofs, skylights and facades. It means that solar panels can be hidden as part of a wall or as a transparent window. The total cost of the Construct PV project is €11 707 677 including €6 913 100 in EU funding.

The project includes two large-scale demonstration sites in Stuttgart, Germany and Athens, Greece. These showcase the latest in solar PV technology which aims to maximize the active surface area of the photovoltaic system and enhance its appearance.

In Stuttgart, a five-floor office building for up to 250 employees working for a company called Z3 has been built with integrated PV systems which will help Z3 reach their goal of becoming a zero-energy building. Meanwhile, in Athens, the School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, has been built with integrated PV systems.

Construct PV develops customizable photovoltaic structures for opaque building surfaces for new buildings and buildings undergoing renovation. These hidden solar panels are not only designed to produce electricity, but they also come with other purposes for example to protect a building against the elements, provide insulation to the building, or enhance it aesthetically.

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India and France launch $1tn solar power tie-up

India and France launch $1tn solar power tie-up

India has launched a global alliance with France to boost solar power generation across countries, especially in developing ones that have ample solar energy resources but insufficient capital.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande on the first day of the UN climate change summit in Paris, France.

It is expected to operate as a collaborative platform for the tropical countries, having solar potential and support solar projects and infrastructure.

The International Solar Alliance aims to have 121 signatories, including the US and China, as well as a long list of developing countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

The members of the alliance will sign a declaration to “undertake innovative and concerted efforts” to reduce the cost of solar financing and the cost of solar technology around the world.

They will also agree to push for new solar projects around the world, with an aim to “mobilise $1.000bn” in funds (€915bn) by 2030 needed for a “massive deployment of affordable solar energy”.

Under the initiative, India expects a $100bn investment every year (€91bn), from the rich countries to the poorer ones from 2020.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented the announcement :

“The sun is the source of all energy. The world must turn to solar, the power of our future. We want to bring solar energy into lives and homes by making it cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to the grid.”

ISA will be operating from the National Institute of Solar Energy in the city of Gurgaon in Haryana, India. The institute will be allocating land and $30m (€27m)to form a secretariat for the solar alliance. The initiative is expected to encourage technology exchange and innovation and create new business opportunities in India and globally.

Over the past few years Mr Modi has made solar power generation a key part of his government’s energy policy, targeting 100 gigawatts of solar power generation by 2022, up from around 4 gigawatts at the moment.

Posted in Business, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy0 Comments

UK’s Lightsource to invest £2bn in India for solar power projects

UK’s Lightsource to invest £2bn in India for solar power projects

British power developer Lightsource Renewable Energy (LRE) has signed a deal to invest £2bn (€2.8bn) for setting up solar plants for up to 3GW of power generation in India.

The agreement will be extending over a five year period and is a part of commercial deals signed between India and the UK during the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country last week.

Lightsource chief executive Nick Boyle commented :

“The government has ambitious plans to electrify India and Lightsource will contribute significantly to that goal. India will be a key market for Lightsource in the future.”

The commercial agreements have a cumulative worth of £9bn (€12.7bn) and cover multiple sectors, including insurance services, finance, healthcare and energy.

Lightsource’s commitment is expected to generate £42m (€59m) in revenue in the country, in addition to creating around 300 job opportunities.

UK-listed Indian firm OPG Power Ventures will also be investing around £2.9bn (€4.1bn) in the Asian country to set up another 4.2GW of new power projects.

OPG supported projects will include 1GW of solar farms and 3.2GW of thermal and renewable energy projects in Tamil Nadu, a state of India.

Other elements of the cooperation include the UK Climate Investments joint venture with the Green Investment Bank, which will invest up to £200m (€283m) in renewable energy and energy efficiency in India and Africa.

Posted in Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy0 Comments

Iran signs deal with German major for developing 1,250MW of solar power projects

Iran signs deal with German major for developing 1,250MW of solar power projects

Iran’s Ministry of Energy has signed an agreement with a German company to build 1,250 megawatts of solar energy projects in the hydrocarbon-rich country’s latest move to green its energy supply chain.

Great Tehran Electrical Distribution managing director Ali Barband said that the firm will set up multiple solar energy facilities in Tehran, Tabriz and Isfahan.

Financial details about the transactions have not been disclosed, but the deal includes construction of a 150MW facility in Kahrizak, 200MW in Varamin and 150MW in Malard :

“It was decided that the issue of land acquisition for construction of the plants is determined soon, after which a 20-year agreement for guaranteed purchase of power will be signed with the Germans”, Barband said. He also added :

“The envisaged plan is to increase power generation capacity during the post-sanction era by various means, including foreign direct investment, construction of new solar, wind and incinerator plants as well as building small-scale plants with distributed generation.”

The German giant is expected to start construction for the first solar project under the deal in early 2016, and complete it by May 2016.

Around 94% of Iran’s power mix is derived from fossil fuels, which the country seeks to replace with renewable sources.

The government plans to install 5,000 MW of renewable capacity, putting Iran among the likes of the UK and France.

Posted in Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy0 Comments

Lightsource Renewable Energy secures £284m refinancing for UK solar projects

Lightsource Renewable Energy secures £284m refinancing for UK solar projects

Lightsource has announced refinancing of £284m of its portfolio of UK solar projects.

The portfolio comprises 33 operational, ground-mounted solar projects, which fall under 20-25 year fixed income tariffs under the UK government’s Feed in Tariff subsidy regime.

The refinancing was completed with the Royal Bank of Scotland as Lightsource’s financial partner and takes the amount of project finance debt raised by Lighthouse in 2015 to £1.1bn.

The £284m refinancing represents the first ever sterling, benchmark-size solar bond and the largest sterling renewables bond.

The deal saw M&G Investments provide £247 million of 22-year inflation linked finance with AMP Capital providing a £37 million 8-year mezzanine facility.

Lightsource finance director Paul McCartie said:

“We are delighted to have closed this deal which represents a significant milestone for Lightsource. We would like to thank M&G and AMP Capital for their continued support on the transaction and hope that we can maintain those partnerships with future deals in the pipeline.”

Posted in Business, Finance, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy0 Comments

Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year

Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year

According to a joint press release from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden – Württemberg ( ZSW ) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries ( BDEW ), Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year.

ZSW and BDEW said there had been a marked increase in electricity produced by wind power and photovoltaic systems.

Though this is a preliminary estimate, on 31 October 2015 wind energy had already supplied 47% more electricity (63 billion kWh) than during the same time period in 2014.

Solar systems produced 35bn kWh in the first 10 months of 2015, the same as in the whole of 2014.

Frithjof Staiß, executive director of the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research ZSW said :

“If renewable energies now meet one third of electricity demand, it is clear that this element of the Energiewende [Germany’s energy transition] is on a promising path. The rising share from renewable sources makes Germany less dependent on fossil fuels, thereby helping it to achieve its climate protection targets.”

Thomas Grigoleit, Director of Energy, Environment and Resources at Germany Trade and Invest added :

“Even if we don’t hit 33%, the overall increase in Germany’s renewable energy share is terrific news. Not only does it show how important this aspect is in terms of Germany’s Energiewende and climate change targets, it confirms Germany’s pioneering position in the industry. Germany is able not only to install this capacity but integrate it effectively into the grid.”

Posted in Alternative Energy, Green Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy, Wind Energy0 Comments

United Utilities installs Europe’s largest floating solar power project on reservoir

United Utilities installs Europe’s largest floating solar power project on reservoir

United Utilities is to build a £3.5m floating solar power system on the Godley reservoir in Hyde in Manchester.
The development will consist of 12,000 solar panels and cover an area of 45,500 square metres. It will be the second biggest floating solar plant in the world when complete, after one located in Japan.

The company aims to complete the installation, test it and bring it into operation before Christmas 2015.
Once complete, the 12-week project will provide United Utilities with 2.7GWh per year of electricity.

United Utilities head of renewable energy Chris Stubbs said: “We have a target to generate 35% of our power requirements by 2020 and this project will make a significant contribution to that aim. As part of United Utilities’ energy strategy to generate more power we identified the Godley reservoir as a suitable site to install a floating solar array to provide the water treatment works with approximately 33% of its energy requirements.”

He also added :

“While floating solar has been deployed elsewhere around the world, most notably in Japan, it is a new technology to the UK. Installations such as the Godley solar scheme will help us to keep energy costs and water customers’ bills low.”

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