Technological developments continue to allow a better assessment of the feasibility of installing solar energy on a particular roof.
In this case, we are referring to a new tool that allows you to install solar panels on the roofs of your homes online via the internet, and in addition to calculating their estimated cost, it also informs us about the expected energy savings and investment tax credits (in the case of the US).
This new web application has been developed by a North American company, SOLarchitect and seeks to go one step further with regard to the installation of solar energy for domestic consumption, mainly in the North American market that has companies specialized in this business segment, such as SunRun , SolarCity (months ago it received financing from Google for 280 million dollars or Sungevity & polares solares guatemala .
Once the costs and benefits of installing solar energy have been calculated, SOLarchitect itself offers the interested party 3 different offers of local contractors suitable to carry out such installation. In the event that one of the offers is accepted, the company coordinates with the installer and obtains its commission.
It is a new platform form that reinforces the use of existing “solar calculators” or of developments with 3-D technology.
To be exact and according to the current exchange rate, it would be necessary to invest around 6.25 euros (5 pounds) to be part of the development of solar and wind energy projects in the United Kingdom, according to a new business proposal from the Abundance “investment community” .
It is a platform for community finances, where small investors can put money for the development of “green” projects and obtain in return regular cash flows based on the energy produced by the installation.
The expected rates of return have been established in the range of 5 – 9% per year, depending on the way in which the money is invested. This new financing model seeks to transform itself into a new “way” to the traditional way of raising funds via banking institutions.
They are currently looking to obtain 1.4 million pounds (approximately 1.75 million euros), necessary to build a wind farm in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, and the idea is to develop other renewable energy projects in different parts of the country, both solar and hydraulic energy.
The Abundance platform works in a similar way to other “peer-to-peer” style websites, where the receipt of funds is managed and future payments for reimbursement to shareholders are managed, charging a commission for these concepts.
You can invest from as little as £ 5 to £ 50,000. According to the investment made, some people may obtain as a “profit” the funds necessary to cover their annual electricity bill.
The investment horizon is between 20-25 years. The possibility of recovering the money before this period of time is allowed, “transforming” the investment into a kind of bond and through the website the “bondholder” can sell / buy new shares.
Interesting initiative so that it can be replicated in different parts of the world. Do you think it is possible to develop something similar in Spain?
The solar thermal energy sector in Spain is currently not in its best moment, and this more than anything because of the direct dependence that the sector has today with the construction industry.
If an analysis of past years is carried out, it is worth noting the growth of the sector during the period 2004-2008, where the installed capacity of solar thermal energy in Spain multiplied by five. This scenario has changed radically during the last two years, with reductions close to 14% for each of the years.
CURRENT SITUATION …
During 2010, some 243.6 MWth were installed, equivalent to about 348 thousand m2, which implies less than half of the forecast that the Renewable Energy Plan set for the year, according to figures contributed by theSolar Thermal Industry Association (ASIT) .
Of the total installed in 2010, more than 80% is directly related to the Technical Building Code (CTE), 15% to facilities promoted by aid systems of the Autonomous Communities and the rest to collectors for heating swimming pools.
Compared with the installed capacity in Europe, Spain “only” contributes 9% of the total installed versus 33% of the German market, a country that has lower levels of solar irradiation than Spain.
For 2011, the forecasts by ASIT are not very encouraging, mainly due to its direct dependence on construction, a sector immersed in a deep crisis, where only 150 thousand homes are estimated to start in the year, in contrast to the 560 thousand homes built 3 years ago. That is why the forecasts are not optimistic because the growth of the solar thermal energy sector depends on the new building and the aid programs of the Autonomous Communities, which will continue to decline for another year.
PROPOSALS FOR A BETTER FUTURE …
ASIT has proposed a series of measures that would help to change the negative trend of recent years and thus boost the solar thermal energy sector in the near future.
Possibility of expanding the scope set in the Technical Building Code, beyond its mandatory nature, in the sense of incorporating new applications such as air conditioning and betting heavily on rehabilitation.
Greater relationship and incentives to be received by Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) in a way that allows a greater development of the sector.
The demand for greater effectiveness in public aid programs promoting the efficiency (or useful energy generated) of the facilities, instead of aid per square meter, as at present.
The opening of new markets, such as Large Consumption of Heat through the establishment of a “Special Regime” model.
And above all, being able to count on a stable regulatory framework that equitably values the maturity and capacity of solar thermal technology.
In summary, although solar thermal energy provides undoubted advantages, it is essential that the sector have a stable regulatory system, which would support further development of the technology and thus tend to reduce its operating costs, ensuring for the next years, the growth of solar thermal power installed in Spain.