Category: Technology

First Subsidy Free Solar Farm

This week saw the opening of the UK’s first solar farm that was built in the absence of any government support.

Clayhill Solar Farm in Bedfordshire has paved the way for subsidy free installations on a large scale. It  has a capacity of 10 MW, which is enough energy to power 2,500 homes. Clayhill received no Renewables Obligation contract nor was it offered a Contracts for Difference. Therefore, Anesco, the company behind the installation, had to make savings elsewhere.

Anesco has a four year relationship with Chinese manufacturer BYD, alowing them to reduce their prices for the 30,000  315 W poly solar cells and 6 MW of battery storage.

Huawei supplied 1,500 V inverters, with Anesco the first company to use Huawei in Europe. Each inverter has a maximum power point tracker and 12 directly connected string inputs. This improves the flexibility of the PV strings and maximising yields.

Another significant reduction in cost is down to a neighbouring 5 MW solar farm with already established grid connections.

The site is estimated to export 9,000 MWh of energy each year. This will be backed up by revenue streams linked to the batteries. Clayhill will bid for revenue streams from various tenders when it is ready. Including, the Capacity Market and the Enhanced and Fast Frequency Response. Once the site has pre-qualified for Capacity Market tenders in mid-November the batteries will be turned on.

Excellent planning and shrewd business acumen has made this Clayhill a viable endeavour, that is sure to be inspiration for any future solar farm.



RenEnergy gains OLEV certification to install Rolec and EO electric vehicle charge points

OLEV, EV Charging

RenEnergy is now fully certified by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to install home charge points for electric and plugin hybrid cars. The certification allows our customers to take advantage of the OLEV grant, a government subsidy of up to £500 for the purchase and installation of an EV charge point.

Home charging is the most cost effective way to charge your electric or plugin hybrid vehicle.

Capable of saving you £000’s per year, a dedicated charge point is both faster, and more efficient than a conventional three-pin plug.

With EV charging costs as little as 2p per mile on standard electricity supplies, it is not hard to see why electric vehicles are predicted to account for 35% of all new car sales by 2040.

Many of our solar solar PV customers could see even greater savings when charging during sunlight hours, harnessing the sun to power their cars as well as their homes.

You can read a full overview of the OLEV scheme HERE, but in brief:

  • Government subsidy for 75% of the value, up to £500, for the purchase and installation of a home charge point.
  • The registered owner of any eligible electric or plugin hybrid vehicle qualifies for the grant.
  • The grant can only be claimed on your behalf by an OLEV certified installer (like RenEnergy).
  • You can claim one charge point grant per eligible vehicle.

Of course, charging doesn’t need to be a solely home based activity. Many owners will use their EV for the daily commute, so why not speak to your employers and ask about installing charge points at the office. We can even offer very attractive profit share schemes for businesses that will offer pay-per-pay charging to the public.

RenEnergy is a certified to install both Rolec and EO chargers, so if you have recently purchased an electric or plugin hybrid vehicle, or are thinking of investing in a low cost future; give RenEnergy a call to discuss the best solution for you.


Tom Lloyd



Biomimicry inspires new solar panel innovation

A decision is set to be made this evening over a 5MW solar farm planned for development on the site of a former quarry.

Engineers from the University of Exeter have discovered that mimicking the stance of a butterfly getting ready to take off can boost the efficiency of solar panels by almost 50 percent.

The common Cabbage White butterfly warms its muscles before taking flight using a technique known as reflectance basking, where it uses its wings to reflect the sun’s energy onto its body.

Reflectance basking is made possible by specific sub-structures in the butterflies’ wings that reflect light from the sun very efficiently.

A team from the Environment and Sustainability Institute and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in Exeter found that by applying a similar wing-like structure to solar panels, and artificially replicating the layer of reflective scales covering butterflies’ wings, the power-to-weight ratio of a panel can be dramatically increased, making it more efficient.

Tapas Mallick, the lead author of the paper explains: “Biomimicry in engineering is not new. However, this truly multidisciplinary research shows a pathway to develop low cost solar power that has not been done before.”

Richard French-Constant, a co-author on the paper, adds: “This proves that the lowly Cabbage White is not just a pest of your cabbages but actually an insect that is an expert at harvesting solar energy.”