solar

A field of solar panels under a blue sky

Are biodiversity and solar natural partners?

Ross Grier
| 23rd July 2018
New research shows that solar farms can significantly improve local biodiversity, with benefits to wildlife and potentially even surrounding crops. NextEnergy Capital is supporting innovative solar developments that enhance biodiversity in the local area and engage the community, writes ROSS GRIER

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HMS Ambush sails into HM Clyde in September 2012 to begin sea trials. (c) Defence Images

Small nuclear reactors are a 1950s mirage come back to haunt us

Oliver Tickell
| 24th October 2017
The government is due to announce a £250 million support package for 'small modular reactors' his week, just as the price of wind and solar power contracts fall 10% below UK wholesale prices. OLIVER TICKELL argues that the Britain's 'civilian' nuclear power expenditure is actually a camouflaged subsidy to the UK's Trident nuclear missile system.

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An example of decentralised solar project installed in Morocco

The importance of decentralised solar energy

Lina Yassin & Arthur Wyns
| 19th October 2017
The implementation of solar cookers across Moroccan communities is proving to be a great example of how decentralisation of renewable energy is contributing to the energy independence of a country by LINA YASSIN & ARTHUR WYNS

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As the sun sets around the world, the lights are turned on, but in some places, there are more lights that others. (c) NASA

Stepping stone or leapfrog?

Andrew J Conway
| 6th October 2017
New, decentralised forms of energy are taking shape. Will these new forms be a stepping stone to replicating the developed world's centralised power systems, or will they be a leapfrog to a new model of energy provision?. ANDREW J CONWAY reports.

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Solar roof at Moor Hall Primary School, Sutton Coldfield, completed on 1st November 2012. But with government policy changes and now a new 'solar tax' on commercial property installations including schools, there's no longer much to celebrate. Photo: Birm

Chancellor - stop the solar tax hike!

Solar Trade Association
| 5th December 2016
Next April the UK government proposes to increase taxes on self-consumed solar electricity installations on schools, offices, warehouses and factories by a whopping 6-8 times, write the STA and undersigned. This inexplicable move, which threatens a once thriving solar industry already on its knees, must be abandoned.

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Flaring at the Scott Township fracking well, Pennsylvania. Photo: WCN 24/7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Climate? What climate? IEA backs fossil-fuelled future

Oliver Tickell
| 30th November 2016
The International Energy Agency's latest World Energy Outlook is calling for increased investment in new oil and gas, writes Oliver Tickell, while minimising the fast-growing and ever lower-cost contribution to world energy supply of renewables like wind and solar.

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Solar farm on Bali, Indonesia. Renewables are a key part of the fight against climate change, but they can't do it on their own! Photo: Selamat Made via Flickr (CC BY).

It will take much more than renewable energy to stop global warming

Steffen Böhm
University of Exeter
| 7th November 2016
Renewable energy may play a huge part in helping to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, now in force and under discussion at COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh, writes Steffen Böhm. But it can never be the whole story, and nor does it relieve the need for deeper changes in how the world works.

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These yurts on Mongolia's 'sea of grass' are powered through a miniature solar microgrid that is both compact and lightweight for easy carriage on to the next site. Photo: Shutterstock.

Off-grid renewables: the sustainable route to 100% global electricity access

Adnan Z. Amin
IRENA
| 4th October 2016
Off-grid renewable energy is key to achieving the global goal of 100% electricity access by 2030, writes Adnan Z. Amin, and to achieving the emissions reductions enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Thankfully, a confluence of factors - including rapid cost declines and impressive technology innovations - are making this goal more achievable than ever, and investment in the sector is taking off.

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Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is already finding a market as a 'green' fuel for cars. But its future potential goes way beyond that, as a vital storage mechanism for surplus wind / solar electricity on the grid, to provide power on demand. Photo

The hydrogen economy is much nearer than we think

David Thorpe
| 26th August 2016
Hydrogen made from renewable electricity is already fuelling vehicles at affordable prices, writes DAVID THORPE. But now the 'green' fuel is set to go from niche to mainstream - powering not just cars, trucks and buses, but storing surplus renewable energy on sunny and windy days, then to be burnt in gas turbines or fuel cells to supply the grid with reliable power on demand.

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New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham
| 21st July 2016
Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft.

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Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall
| 15th July 2016
Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper.

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The smoke rises above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - no, not from the recent fires that afflicted the city, but from the highly polluting plant processing tar sand into oil. Photo: kris krüg / DeSmogBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Jeremy Leggett
| 7th June 2016
The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe?

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Installing a Solarcentury 'Sunstation', which embeds into the roof rather than sitting above it. Photo: Solarcentury.

Innovation for the global energy transformation: the Solarcentury Sunstation

Jeremy Leggett
| 1st June 2016
In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation's solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation - including its new 'Sunstation' - an integrated 'snap-on' solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs.

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The key to further big increases in wind and solar capacity is to store surplus power as gas, then burn it CCGT gas power stations when needed to meet demand. Photo: Royd Moor wind farm, Yorkshire, by steve p2008 via Flickr (CC BY).

Renewable energy can 'keep the lights on' - here's how

David Elliott
| 6th May 2016
Critics of renewable energy sources like wind and solar claim that they are inefficient, unreliable and need to be backed up by coal and gas, writes David Elliott. But we have the technology to match green power supply and demand at affordable cost without fossil fuels - by deploying the 'smart grid', using 'green gas' made from surplus power, and raising energy efficiency.

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The Zaporozhye nuclear power station seen from the 'Nikopol' bank of the river Dnieper, Ukraine. Photo: Ralf1969 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Thirty years after Chernobyl, what chance of a post-nuclear Ukraine?

Jan Haverkamp
Iryna Holovko
| 26th April 2016
The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe may have scared most of the world off nuclear power, write Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko. But mysteriously, not Ukraine, where the reactor meltdown actually took place. Thirty years on more than half of Ukraine's electricity is still nuclear, while the power sector is dominated by powerful oligarchs. So what are the chances of a post-nuclear Ukraine?

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