Green Nation News

No holiday for renewables

“Greenest electricity grid record smashed on Easter Monday” was a rather catchy headline reported in the press after the holiday weekend this year. And it might not seem like it – but it is an important one.

The story, reported in many publications, is that at 1pm on Easter bank holiday, the UK’s electricity grid operated at its lowest ever recorded carbon-intensity. 80% of power came from renewables or nuclear, and an average 39g of CO2was emitted for every kilowatt hour of energy. Compare that to an average 198g for the whole of 2019, and 446g for every kWh generated from fossil fuels.

Solar contributed to that record by generating 21% of all electricity during the period in question, and as a solar power company, we’re very happy to see that.

So, as developers and managers of solar power generating assets, do the numbers above mean that it’s time to put our feet up from developing and just manage?

Not just yet. The headlines above refer to a sunny and windy moment when electricity demand in the UK was particularly low and renewables generation was particularly high.

In 2019 as a whole, solar electricity generated in the UK accounted for 4% of all electricity used here. Over the next 30 years, electricity consumption is set to grow, as the rise of the Electric Vehicle and the move away from the use of gas for heating will outweigh any efficiency gains.

Solar will have a big role to play in the challenge to achieve the UK government’s commitment to achieve a 68% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and net zero by 2050: it’s increasingly cheap, predictable and there is scope to build a lot more of it. And that’s what we’ll be doing, on the ground and on rooftops. We predict that in the UK we could end up with five to ten times more solar capacity than we have now.

As we build that capacity, one of the other predictable things about solar energy is that we will produce more than we need at 1pm (especially on a bank holiday Monday) and not enough at either end of the day. Green Nation is working on battery storage projects to allow some of that middle of the day electricity to be used when it’s most needed, so we’re now a solar and battery company!

Another predictable thing is that we will eventually have more solar electricity than we need in the middle of summer and not enough in winter. At some point, but not this year, we will work with a technology to transfer energy captured in summer to the winter months, and we may become a solar, battery and hydrogen company.

A couple more numbers and predictions to finish with: for solar to generate all the electricity used by the UK in 2019, it would need to cover 0.6% of the surface area of the UK (about the size of Greater London). That won’t happen, but it’s only half the area that would have been needed 10 years ago, and we predict that that number will continue to fall as solar technology develops. Watch this space.

Goodbye 2020

Hi res GN Office

The office may be a bit quiet, but our team continues to be fully operational.

Ensuring Green Nation could operate business as usual during a pandemic was not something we had planned to do when we started the year! However, we quickly transitioned to remote working a couple of weeks before the UK’s national lockdown announcement in March 2020.

Since then, we have only made occasional use of our office, but look forward to spending more time there later in 2021.

COVID restrictions have made travel to our managed sites a little more difficult, and new development projects have progressed more slowly than we wanted.

Despite these difficulties there have been some silver linings amongst the clouds:

  • Our managed sites have produced at a high level of efficiency

  • We have a slate of new rooftop builds in prospect for 2021

  • Momentum for solar. There was a very noticeable recognition across the world that the transition to renewable electricity is required and that solar will be a huge percentage of that.

  • Storage is the future. The combination of unusually sunny weather and low electricity demand in the UK during the spring 2020 lockdown highlighted the challenges of managing the electricity network when renewables account for a large share of supply. It’s clear the next ten years will see huge growth in battery storage and of hydrogen and other technologies for longer-term storage of energy.

  • We hired some great people who’ve grown our team’s capabilities in the development of large projects, asset management and financial management.

Welcome 2021!

Despite the continuing restrictions of COVID, we are excited about 2021 with a clear focus on capitalising on our opportunities. In particular:

  • Taking on the management of more renewable energy assets in solar and storage

  • Responding to demand to develop new solar farms in the UK and elsewhere

  • Installing more rooftop solar schemes, selling the electricity to the building owners and exploring how we can widen our energy service offering to them

Watch this space!

Green Nation Goes to Hollywood!

Green Nation has reached a milestone with its first large subsidy-free rooftop installation and its first on a bowling alley!

The 226 kWp system was installed by Watt Energy Saver and project managed by Green Nation at the Hollywood Bowl site at Bentley Bridge, Wolverhampton.

It is also ground-breaking in that it’s one of relatively few rooftop installations carried out with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) agreed with the tenant of a building that is itself owned by an institutional landlord. This required all three parties to agree the terms of a series of documents and was a time-consuming exercise, but one that should become shorter as Green Nation and Hollywood Bowl take that experience to other sites.

Ben Carne, Energy and Safety Manager at Hollywood Bowl, said: “Hollywood Bowl is committed to doing our bit to reduce the carbon-intensity of our business, and this solar installation is a big step in that direction. It is a visible sign of our commitment, not least to any flights passing overhead!”

Green Nation CEO Jonathan Thompson commented: ”This is a really good installation built to a very high standard and will produce electricity for many years to come. This project gave us the opportunity to learn about managing complexity with a difficult to access urban site and working with a big, institutional landlord. This is valuable experience and will stand us in good stead for the future. Hollywood Bowl is a really progressive company to work with and we look forward to carrying out more installations with them in the months and years to come.”

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No holiday for renewables

“Greenest electricity grid record smashed on Easter Monday” was a rather catchy headline reported in the press after the holiday weekend this year. And it might not seem like it – but it is an important one.

So, as developers and managers of solar power generating assets, do the numbers above mean that it’s time to put our feet up from developing and just manage?

Read more

Goodbye 2020

The office may be a bit quiet, but our team continues to be fully operational.

Ensuring Green Nation could operate business as usual during a pandemic was not something we had planned to do when we started the year! However, we quickly transitioned to remote working a couple of weeks before the UK’s national lockdown announcement in March 2020.

Since then, we have only made occasional use of our office, but look forward to spending more time there later in 2021.

COVID restrictions have made travel to our managed sites a little more difficult, and new development projects have progressed more slowly than we wanted.

Read more

Green Nation Goes to Hollywood!

Green Nation has reached a milestone with its first large subsidy-free rooftop installation and its first on a bowling alley!

The 226 kWp system was installed by Watt Energy Saver and project managed by Green Nation at the Hollywood Bowl site at Bentley Bridge, Wolverhampton.

Read more