Category: Press Coverage

RenEnergy founder, Damian, quoted in Parking News

Photo of newspaper with parking news logo

Our founder and managing director, Damian Baker, is quoted in Parking News: trade publication for the parking and traffic management industry.

For once, we’re not talking about solar panels or solar carports! We feature in an article about how organisations can incorporate social values into their operations. While public sector bodies have Social Value Charters that commit them to CSR and staff wellbeing, many private sector companies do these under their own steam.

Screenshot of British Parking News article

Damian spoke to journalist, Sarah Juggins, about how RenEnergy incorporates social values into daily life. Here’s what he said:

“Like most private sector organisations, RenEnergy does not have a Social Values Charter. However, we do naturally incorporate a number of social values into our operations.

We use renewable energy to power and heat our offices, and earlier this year we completed an energy efficiency audit to reduce our overall energy consumption and carbon emissions. We also use our expertise as part of Norwich Community Solar: a cooperative that helps solar projects off the ground for community organisations (such as sports centres).

Internally, we offer extensive training for staff, and put employees through apprenticeships to upskill. We have a number of working parents on the team, so allow flexibility to accommodate their other commitments. As well as being in line with our company principles, these things simply make good business sense.”

You can read the full article online: check us out on page 16!

RenEnergy solar carport for Aviva achieves ‘highly commended’ at Solar & Storage Live Awards

newspaper image with solar power portal

Our solar carport for Aviva was ‘highly commended’ at the Solar & Storage Live Awards last week.

We were thrilled to be nominated for the ‘commercial solar project of the year’ at Solar Power Portal’s Solar & Storage Live Awards last week.

We didn’t win, but we’re thrilled to be highly commended by the judges. We’re very proud of our solar carport for Aviva, so it feels great to receive external recognition for the project.  More importantly, the team thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the awards ceremony at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.

Congratulations to the winners, Meadowhall Shopping Centre. We’ll be back next year to see if we can get another award under our belt.

Click here to read Solar Power Portal’s write-up of the awards.

RenEnergy and NCFC solar panel partnership featured in EDP

Blog banner: RenEnergy in EDP

Our solar installation for Norwich City FC’s training ground is featured in local news publication, the Eastern Daily Press.

The EDP has published an article on our recent solar roof installation at NCFC’s Lotus Training Centre. The work was completed as part of a £5m fan-funded redevelopment of the club’s training facilities.

Journalist, Caroline Culot, provided a great write-up of the project, as well as our new partnership with Norwich City FC. We’re sponsoring the team for the 2019/20 season as they take on the Premier League: read more about it here.

Screen shot of RenEnergy in the EDP newspaper

Our solar carport for Aviva Norwich featured in Parking News

RenEnergy’s solar carport at Aviva Horizon, Norwich is featured in the September issue of Parking News.

Parking News is the monthly publication for the British Parking Association: the trade body for the parking and traffic management profession. Back in July, we invited Sarah Juggins, journalist for Parking News, along to our open day at Aviva Horizon.

Turn to page 20 of the online publication to see Sarah’s write up of our Aviva solar carport project.

RenEnergy featured in Parking News

RenEnergy’s NCFC project featured in Solar Power Portal

Photo of newspaper with RenEnergy and Solar Power Portal logo

Thanks to Solar Power Portal for publishing an article about our recent installation at partnership with Norwich City Football Club.

We installed a double roof array at the club’s Lotus Training Centre as part of a £5m redevelopment.

Completing the installation as part of the ongoing work at Colney Lane minimised disruption at the site. The installation helps offset the unavoidable energy usage and C02 emissions associated with running a football club.

Ben Kensell, COO at Norwich City, added: “We are delighted to welcome on board RenEnergy. They have been able to offer us a renewable and long-lasting solution to our energy consumption at the Lotus Training Centre which falls directly in-line with the aim of lowering our carbon footprint.”

You can read the full article over on Solar Power Portal.

 

RenEnergy & partner Q-Cells featured in PV Europe

PV Europe has published an article about on our recent partnership project with Q-Cells. We completed a largest solar array at Natures Menu: the largest pet food manufacturer in Europe.

You can read the full article on the PV Europe website. 

Here’s a short excerpt from the article…

“The 522.6k kW array was constructed at the main production facility of Natures Menu, a British producer of high-quality pet food. This solar system is the largest in Europe to be built using Q CELLS’ Q.FLAT-G5, and generates solar electricity using 1,608 Q.PEAK DUO-G5 modules.

Allied to a growing appetite nationwide for clean, renewable energy and greater energy independence is the simple fact that solar PV components are becoming more and more affordable by the day. The pet food production facility of Natures Menu will self-consume the solar electricity generated by the 522 kW array.

Developer RenEnergy finished construction of the rooftop array in July 2019. By utilizing the Q.FLAT-G5 mounting system, RenEnergy was able to streamline the installation process thanks to the Q.FLAT’s innovative design. The Q.FLAT-G5 has been proven to deliver a power density of 170 W/m².”

Solar + Power Management features RenEnergy and Q-Cells partnership

Solar Power + Management logo with newspaper and RenEnergy logo

Solar trade publication, Solar + Power Management, has profiled RenEnergy and Q-Cells recent solar installation at Natures Menu. This is the largest flat roof installation in Europe using Q-Cells’ mounting system.

You can read the full article online on the Solar + Power Management website.

Here’s just a taste of the piece…

“Damian Baker, Managing Director from RenEnergy, said: “We were delighted to once again partner with Q CELLS on the construction of the 522.6 kWp rooftop PV project for Natures Menu. We believe this installation is yet another encouraging example of UK businesses investing in green electricity, and taking control of their energy spend. By self-consuming the solar electricity onsite, and by using top-quality and competitively priced Q CELLS components, Natures Menu will enjoy an exceptional return on income right from the get-go.”

Sean Collier, Head of UK Sales for Q CELLS, added: “It is a pleasure to have supplied the Q.FLAT-G5 mounting system and Q.PEAK DUO-G5 modules to this project by RenEnergy. The UK solar market may not grab the headlines for record-breaking levels of solar installation like it used to, but in many ways we are even more encouraged by the way the market has evolved: it has become a sustainable growth industry packed with plenty of opportunities for a company like Q CELLS. The social capital of solar grows daily in the UK, and as the economics begin to make more and more sense, we expect solar to play an increasingly central role in the nation’s electricity sector over the coming decades.”

The UK’s solar sector is enjoying a more stable year in 2019 after having contracted in 2018, when new installations reached just 286 MW for the year (according to SolarPower Europe). Over the coming four-year period, however, SolarPower Europe expects close to 3 GW of additional capacity additions in the UK. This would represent sustained healthy growth for the market, and continued opportunities for Q CELLS, which was ranked as the UK market leader in 2018 according to EuPD Research’s Global PV InstallerMonitor 2018/2019 Survey.”

RenEnergy & Q-Cells featured in Smart Solar

Image of newspaper with the smart solar logo

Smart Solar has profiled RenEnergy and Q-Cells’ recent solar installation at Natures Menu: the largest pet food manufacturer in Europe.

You can read the full piece online here.

Here’s a taste of the article from Smart Solar…

“British renewable energy developer RenEnergy has built Europe’s largest flat rooftop solar installation to use Q CELLS’ Q.FLAT-G5 mounting system – a 522 kWp array at the site of quality pet food manufacturer Natures Menu in Norfolk. The array will also utilize 1,608 Q.PEAK DUO-G5 modules.

Q CELLS, solar cell and module manufacturer, supplied its award-winning Q.FLAT-G5 mounting system and Q.PEAK DUO-G5 solar modules to British clean energy developer RenEnergy for a commercial rooftop in Norfolk, UK.

The 522.6kWp array was constructed at the main production facility of Natures Menu, a British producer of high-quality pet food. This solar system is the largest in Europe to be built using Q CELLS’ Q.FLAT-G5, and generates solar electricity using 1,608 Q.PEAK DUO-G5 modules.

Allied to a growing appetite nationwide for clean, renewable energy and greater energy independence is the simple fact that solar PV components are becoming more and more affordable by the day. The pet food production facility of Natures Menu will self-consume the solar electricity generated by the 522 kWp array.”

RenEnergy’s first solar carport project featured in the EDP

Blog banner: RenEnergy in EDP

We spoke to the EDP about our solar carport for Aviva’s Horizon building

RenEnergy’s first solar carport project has gained media exposure in local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press.

We spoke to EDP journalist, Caroline Culot, ahead of our open day at the Aviva Horizon Building in July. Her short piece covers the scope of our solar carport project, and why generating sustainable energy on-site was important to Aviva.

Screenshot of RenEnergy's solar carport at Aviva featured in EDP newspaper

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Across the course of a year, this system will provide more than 32pc of the site’s total energy demand, representing a carbon offset saving of 166.5 tonnes per year, and a major contribution towards Aviva’s efforts to tackle climate change.

In 2006 Aviva became the first carbon neutral international insurer, and is working towards a 70pc reduction in operational CO2 emissions across the whole company by 2030.

Stuart Wright, property and facilities manager at Aviva said:

‘The solar carport is a really innovative way to generate green energy, tackle climate change and reduce our environmental impact. It’s a fantastic design that delivers on the environmental benefits without impacting on space.’”

Thanks to EDP for the write-up, and to Aviva for collaborating with us on the open day event.

 

Industry Q&A with RenEnergy MD Damian Baker

RenEnergy recently began construction on a 1.9MW solar farm for Briar Chemicals, one of the last of its kind to be supported by ROC accreditation.

With the 31 March deadline for the closure of the subsidy scheme looming, founder and managing director of RenEnergy Damian Baker explained to SPP what the future holds for large scale solar deployment in a post-ROC world.

How do you see the removal of subsidy under the ROC scheme affecting the power purchase agreement (PPA) and large scale solar market?

I think that going forward post-ROC, if you’ve got the right project with the right counter party with the right energy usage on site you can make a deal work but everything’s got to be right. If there’s a developer involved they can’t take very much of a margin, you’ve got to have a site with no shading, high onsite usage but the PPA deal won’t be as good as we gave Briar Chemicals.

The removal of ROCs will certainly change the financial structure of future deals. What impact will this have on PPAs going forward and how can you ensure a good return?

We don’t class ourselves as a traditional EPC, we class ourselves as someone who brings and will own the systems. So we’re not looking at it just on what margin we can make, we’re looking at the longer term and we think the margins are going to be thinner all the way through. It’s all going to be about quality of installation and strength of counter party and how the project looks over the next 15-20 years.

The reality is your asset has to perform 100% from day one because when it comes to selling that asset on or even getting the yield yourself, margins are going to be skinny all the way through. It needs to do what it says on the tin from day one.

We look after all our O&M and when we look back over sites we’ve installed, we’re getting really good yields.

What are the advantages of coming out of the ROC system?

The deadlines have been too tight [and] then they were pushing for cheaper prices so you ended up with a perfect storm rather than looking at the best long-term opportunity and then making sure it was installed correctly.

What I’m hoping is that planning horizons will lengthen out so we can work on all these things that historically we’ve not been able to do because there wasn’t enough time. So you bring that planning horizon into a longer more sustainable business and I think that is the right approach.

We’ve got to move into a sustainable industry; solar PV has been a very sustainable product but in the least sustainable industry. You’re giving people a 25 year investment yet the companies installing the stuff aren’t sustainable.

 

“We’ve got to move into a sustainable industry; solar PV has been a very sustainable product but in the least sustainable industry.”

What new strategies are you looking at for the post-ROC market?

Big industrial users are paying very little for their energy but when you get to people who can take 100kW and use most of it they’re still going to be paying a certain amount for their energy and that makes it very much more viable. You’ve got a slightly higher legal cost but if you then have a generic lease, there’s potentially a little more in it and people can benefit more, so instead of them paying 12p you can probably get it to 8.5-9p.

Aside from PPAs, what other grid scale opportunities do you see for solar development without subsidy?

You’re going to have to have an off-taker. Unless they make sleeving much easier I can’t see that we’re going to get direct into the grid for 5p for a while. I think within four or five years that market will be back on.

[Until then] there’s a huge amount of opportunity out there. We’re seeing the grid open up in some places so we’ve got a number of clients that have 200-250kW [systems] which we’ll be moving into, working on community schemes.

If you look at a lot of the housing developments going in, some of these are going to have massive power needs and I’m not sure where the grid is going to come from. I think there will be an opportunity to set up a micro-grid using gas CHP and microgrids with solar and renewables all plumbed in together and then you become the power company for those housing developments.

Companies like us would be able to lead that and take all that responsibility off the housing developer. The DNOs will struggle to get power out to people and they’re going to be charging a lot of money.

If you can say ‘give us the deal to power your 2,000 houses for the next 25 years, we’ll give you market related prices, say 12p/kW for a whole housing estate’, we could easily do that and get good margins and then the project is very green.

Originally published in Solar Power Portal on 9 March 2017

RenEnergy Africa features in agricultural irrigation publication ‘SABI’.

Irrigation

Our business partners in South Africa have featured in the April edition of SABI magazine, the industry voice for the South Africa Irrigation Institute.

With energy reliability becoming an increasing issue in the country, solar PV can provide a cost effective solution for a wide array of agricultural applications, not least the energy intensive process of irrigating parched arable land.

Read the article below or visit the SABI website for more information or to subscribe.

While some sectors may be reporting sluggish business, not so the solar PV (Solar Photovoltaic) arena.
With offices in Somerset West in the Western Cape, solar PV company RenEnergy Africa is another solar PV group SABI magazine spoke with who is experiencing expanding interest amongst South Africans exploring solar options.

RenEnergy Africa summarises its business as follows “We design and install optimized bespoke Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage solutions. We are a full EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction), with highly experienced personnel. Each design and installation is done in house (not sub-contracted out), to ensure utmost quality of work.

“Our expert understanding of Solar PV solutions, is reflected in our uncompromising quality of design, installation and commissioning for a reliable 25 year Solar PV electricity generation system. This is reflected in our results of not only meeting but exceeding generation targets and our customer’s energy requirements.”

Jean-Roux Heyns, business development manager for RenEnergy Africa, which has a head office in the United Kingdom, says the alternative power landscape is without a doubt growing. Indeed, they believe, that given several highly advantageous factors such as sunlight being a free and renewable energy source and the technology (which has no moving parts) being close to maintenance-free – all in the face of escalating electricity costs, solar PV is a win-win solution.

Generation good
Heyns says the market in South Africa will continue to develop, unfolding in much the same fashion as the European solar markets, for example: Germany, United Kingdom, France etc. Notably, we have far better generation figures here in South Africa – with our sun irradiation – as compared with European irradiance.

He comments further: “With the advantages of solar PV and prices being more competitive (prices have gone beyond costparity) than grid-purchased or Eskom energy, the landscape continues to grow.

“Regulations have already begun changing to foster and develop renewable energy. An example of which is 100% depreciation of your Solar PV project in year 1 (under 1 MW) and Netmetering/ banking of energy if you are on an Eskom medium voltage network “

As solar PV is a comparatively new offering in South Africa where fossil fuel has dominated for some time, there is a lot of information and knowledge-sharing that invariably needs to be done. The company invests effort and time in knowledge and information sharing with customers and potential clientele. They recently held a highly successful Open Day in the Western Cape, for example.

Adding extra phases
Reflects Heyns: “Consider that five years ago, most businesses had not yet given much thought to Solar PV. In the initial years we spent time educating customers about benefits and the various options available. What is evident is that our customers who have carried out projects, have great demand in conducting new projects or additional phases. This is very much due to seeing the actual returns and savings. “

RenEnergy is very active in the agricultural arena as well as business and residential sectors. They operate nationwide and have completed three projects for North West agri business NWK in Lichtenburg, and in fact are working on an additional two projects for NWK. “Presently we have high demand from our customers, who, once experiencing the benefits of solar
PV in their energy equation, are typically wanting us to explore additional phases and to further reduce reliance on grid, to gain further dependence.”

In terms of agricultural demand for solar PV, RenEnergy believe that competitiveness is becoming of greater importance in the sector. Comments Heyns: “Simply put, Solar PV is cheaper, allows control and competitiveness in electricity provision. It is a cheaper and reliable form of generation that can be forecasted accurately utilising area specific historical data. The savings go beyond 25 years, with guaranteed generation for 25 years, still producing 80% in year 25. This fulfils short term, mid-term and long term risks associated in electricity costs for business.”

RenEnergy is very passionate about engineering and design, says Heyns. They spend a lot of time understanding a customer’s business requirements, energy usage patterns and design plus engineering to ensure effective solar PV systems are commissioned.

“Our interest is not in the size of installation, but rather in the right fit. As Solar PV is modular, the application can be expanded in phases and as budget permits. Sometimes, customers require access to additional capacity (kVA), sometimes they want to be more independent, some want to maximise cost efficiency and ensure competitiveness and maximise savings,” he says.

Saving energy for pumping
RenEnergy is an international company, was founded in 2006. The team has received international training in the UK, as well as Germany. “There is over 200 MW or 200,000 kW installation experience within the team. Our installations are done country wide. As per our motto, we are a proud “partner in power” and it is imperative that results are achieved. We are proud of our track record and of our professional and experienced staff. These are the foundations on which our business is built,” elaborates Heyns.

On the vital issue of demand for solar PV installations as a part of irrigation cost containment, RenEnergy say that, in fact, they very active in delivering solutions to save energy for pumping and the movement of water.

Heyns says: “We are currently busy with a 51 kWp ground mount system which provides 70% of the peak power to the pumps (grid providing the balance), for attaining 60% savings. We have grid/ tied Solar PV systems for the movement of water, which is a very effective storage mechanism.

“We also have off-grid pumping solutions, if full pumping requirements can be met during daylight hours. Some farmers believe that they need to replace their pumps and existing motors, which is not the case. We can add the equipment necessary to provide solar pumping equipment. “

Expert tips from RenEnergy for those just starting to explore solar PV for their farm or enterprise?

“If you can, bring a Solar PV partner in during the planning stages and before the equipment has been procured. This allows the full spectrum of equipment to be selected so that the puzzle pieces suit the outcomes required.

“As indicated, we are able to work with existing pumps and motors as well. We work together with designers, pump specialists and irrigation specialists to provide the correct solution. We work together with other experts, to bring the right solution to the table,” he advises.