The businesses localising solar in Europe

Angela Merkel, known fondly as the ‘Iron Mum’, has fallen spectacularly from grace in recent months due to an overreliance on Russian gas during her premiership.

Despite various warnings from political counterparts, Merkel argued in favour of Putin’s supply, hailing Nordstream 2 as the solution that would allow Germany to transition to greener energy in the long term. And now, it looks like similar mistakes might be repeated in the renewables space.

China dominates the solar panel supply chain, accounting for 80% of production, and it is said the superpower could account for up to 95% by 2025. Just last week, it was announced that China has built nearly 31 gigawatts (GW) of new solar power capacity from January to June, up 137% from a year earlier. The EU and UK Government recognise the threat this poses and are attempting to keep business local to forge a secure path towards net zero.

European startups play a vital role. In addition to localising production, they are taking proactive steps towards addressing affordability concerns, region-wide shortages of qualified installers, high upfront costs and grid management solutions.

By reducing our reliance on foreign exports, Europe can lead the way in solar energy innovation and help to permanently decentralise the energy economy.

There are lots of exciting startups getting solar tech to Europe – all specialising in different sectors of solar. Some assist developers to find optimal project sites – such as Glint Solar, whilst others help with the planning, designing and optimizing of the engineering of a PV plant – for example Rated Power and PVCase. The operation and maintenance of plants are supported by startups such as Skyfri and Greenbyte, who ensure that they are as efficient and profitable as possible.

There are also a number of exciting UK based businesses that are showing exciting growth, for example:

  • GB-Sol, based in South Wales, are specialists in bespoke PV panels and mounting systems. The business prides itself on minimising their carbon footprint, keeping suppliers as local as possible, using recycled aluminium and minimising packaging. The company’s factory has a 30kW solar PV array on the roof, which provides much of the power needed.
  • Powervault is an energy storage solution for homes and businesses. Their products store solar energy and affordable electricity from the grid, helping consumers save money while protecting the environment. Storage is one of the core issues we face in terms of solar, and this tech will allow people to reduce electricity bills, get to net zero and earn money.
  • AES Solar is a solar thermal manufacturer located in Moray, Scotland. AES Solar contributed to the award winning 2018 House of the Year announced on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, Lochside House. The business offers a variety of ways to join the renewable revolution, such as offering solar thermal panels, battery storage, off grid systems and service and maintenance for solar energy requirements.
  • HomeSun helps businesses and landlords integrate solar capabilities within their premises, delivering scale, expertise and customisation. From the start until completion, HomeSun can operate and maintain the solar system for you, enabling the transition to green energy.
  • Island Green Power is a renewable energy developer that is primarily focused on the development of PV plants here in the UK, and abroad in countries like Spain, Italy, Ireland and Australia. The business identifies suitable sites, prepares the initial designs and brings the project through the local planning and permitting process.

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