3 cloudy communities leading the way with solar energy

24 May 2017 Kingspan Group

When thinking of solar energy, places like Arizona, Abu Dhabi or Australia may come to mind for their enticing climates. After all, these are some of the sunniest places in the world racking up over 3,500 hours of sunshine every year.

 Solar energy is a free and renewable source of energy readily available throughout the year. As fossil fuels are no longer a reliable or sustainable option, using solar energy enables us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Solar solutions are also low maintenance and once installed can continue provide power and hot water for years.
But what happens when it gets cloudy? Does solar technology still work?
It’s a common misinterpretation that for solar solutions to work you need a direct and constant supply of sunshine. Contrary to popular belief, solar technology actually works more efficiently when they are cool. The key isn’t that every day is sunny but rather that they are positioned to gather sun at the best times.
Let’s take a look at three typically dull towns and cities and to see some of their solar success stories.

1. Doncaster, England

Doncaster is certainly not known for its sunshine, on average the town gets over 100 days of rainfall each year.
Despite the dull days, solar solutions are being utilised by big businesses in the area. Retailer, Next uses solar panels to manage their own electricity costs. The development is made up of a four floor office block and a conveyor link bridge to enable stock transportation between warehouses.
The Kingspan Solar PV System produces 2,217 MWh of energy every year, with 100% of this consumed on site.  The building also offsets 1,101 tonnes of CO2 annually.

2. Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff, named Britain’s wettest city, has just 1,518 hours of sunshine on average each year. However, the wet Welsh weather doesn’t stop the city from investing in solar solutions.
The Star Community Centre, has recently opened in Cardiff, as part of the council’s Community Hubs programme. The £6m project includes a 25m swimming pool, gym and fitness suite. Solar thermal solutions are used for the domestic hot water supply and to heat the pool.
The community centre used of 1,440 Kingspan Thermomax tubes and two 1000 litre Kingspan hot water cylinders. It is expected to save £200,000 over the lifetime of the system. 

3. London, England


Cloudy days can also provide opportunity for solar panels to collect even more power, for example, London averages 1481 hours of sunshine per year.

Solar collectors are not just for generating renewable energy, they can also be used to create a striking design. Architect Nick Baker placed 925 Kingspan Varisol solar thermal evacuated tube collectors to the front of an apartment building in the trendy area of Delancey Street, Camden.

The innovative design is so striking it stops traffic in the area.

However it’s not all about presentation, the solar collectors have resulted in Delancey Street receiving a Level three rating from The Code for Sustainable Homes and made the building eligible for the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments.

This approach has proven highly effective, saving more than 5,000 m3 of gas and lowering CO2 emissions by approximately 11,000kg.

Every cloud really does have a silver lining!
Product note:
Kingspan supplies the world’s most efficient and technologically advanced solar thermal vacuum tubes and solar PV.
All Kingspan solar thermal collectors are provided with an industry leading guarantee for ultimate peace of mind.
The Kingspan Solar PV System is a versatile solar photovoltaic system that is suitable for pitched and flat roof applications on new build, retrofit, or refurbishment projects.

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