WE BROUGHT OUR ENERGY TO UK CONSTRUCTION WEEK
May 17, 2022
This Spring saw Solivus showcase at the biggest trade event in the calendar - UK Construction Week. It was our first time attending and we came with one aim - to engage the construction sector about the huge potential thin-film solar offers for clean and cost-effective energy generation for Britain's homes and businesses. After all, we've made it our mission to fit the 2.5bn sq meters of available roof space in the UK with solar panels capable of generating half the nation's energy - but we can't do it unless decision-makers get behind solar innovation.
TAPPING INTO A GLOBAL AUDIENCE
As builders, architects, developers and innovators gathered, there was a buzz that these events are happening in person again. Perhaps the most surprising thing was just how global and diverse the audience was. In just three days, we hadn’t just met people from all four corners of the UK but attendees from Germany, Turkey, France, the US, the Middle East and Kazakstan who were there from a wide range of industries including manufacturing, housing developers and storage companies.
Sustainability and ESG were at the heart of most of our conversations. We saw a real openness to understanding more about renewable energy options. Many builders, developers and building owners shared their concerns around the cost and payback periods of solar so our financing options for rooftop installations were very well received.
Key drivers for considering solar were the environment and the rising cost of energy prices. Some mentioned upcoming regulation changes and the need to align their brand with customer demand. Our stand was busy across all three days showing high levels of interest forhow our thin-film solar can help developers understand how to decarbonise the built environment. Attendees had the opportunity to touch and feel just how ultra light-weight and flexible this type of thin-film solar really is.
INNOVATION, INNOVATION, INNOVATION
Batteries were another hot topic at the show, given the role they play in sustainable energy solutions of the future. We had the chance to meet with Aceleron who are building modular batteries that mean instead of throwing batteries away, you can simply replace what’s broken. It is of course possible to benefit from solar without a need for batteries too, by simply designing the system to meet your average need meaning a modular approach to solar is also possible.
It was great to see first hand how broad the interest is in renewable energy, and specifically thin film solar. We had a representative from Neom stop by who told us more about the future city being built in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is leading the way in designing sustainable cities fully utilising solar. It’s an ambitious project that could act as a blueprint for towns and cities everywhere.
We also spoke to a farm owner from the Cotswolds who initially stopped by to look at the Solivus Arc for their own cottage, before realising they could now consider solar for their vast barns. They’d discounted solar on these for years due to the weight of conventional solar.
WE FIELDED A LOT OF QUESTIONS
As you might expect, we were asked a lot of questions. The most frequently asked questions were about
- What’s the efficiency of thin-film solar compared to conventional panels?
- What is the payback period?
- How much does it cost?
The good news is that the price difference between thin-film products and conventional solar, is reducing. This makes thin-film more affordable when you look at the fully installed costs.
The efficiency and therefore performance of thin-film is also improving too. But the real focus for Solivus is to put thin-film on the rooftops of buildings that cannot take the weight of conventional solar, so any efficiency measure should really be made against a surface with no solar - no comparison!
Overall, we loved showcasing our products but more than that, we loved meeting so many like-minded people who are keen to decarbonise the built environment. It reminded us just how much is happening in construction. People are disrupting the way things have always been done and we’re glad to be part of that change.