Developers attempt head-start in UK commercial rooftop solar market

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

International PV developer Conergy and the UK’s Lark Energy have formed business divisions to take on UK commercial rooftop solar, with the head of Conergy’s new segment saying the sector will “happen in a big way”.

Paul Weaver, newly recruited from the energy division of UK infrastructure specialist Balfour Beatty to lead Conergy’s new division, joined the company’s UK head Robert Goss in talking up the potential of the market.

Goss said it demonstrated the company’s intent to “invest in the scale up of solar rooftops across the UK” and said his company, which is backed by investment house Kawa Capital Management, can bring new capital to the rooftop sector, stating that the company is looking at investing it strategically in “new and scalable business models”.

“Make no mistake, rooftop solar is going to happen in a big way in Britain,” Weaver added.

According to Weaver, the company will offer a range of services which includes finance, rooftop leasing, power purchase agreements (PPAs), hire purchase, commissioned engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and operations and maintenance (O&M).

Meanwhile, Lark Energy, headquartered in Cambridgeshire in the east of England, has launched Lark Energy Commercial. The company said its new division would build on its parent company’s experience of developing over 750 rooftop sites. Lark Energy also claimed its design, construction and sales professionals’ development of 30MW of projects for blue chip clients could give the company a competitive edge. Lark Energy is better known in the UK for its development of ground-mounted solar farms.

As the financial support scheme for solar PV projects of over 5MW is changing radically at the end of this quarter, leading many to speculate that a vast reduction of the utility-scale sector in Britain will result, there is expectation across the industry that commercial rooftops will become increasingly important.

Former energy minister Greg Barker had promised last year shortly before his resignation that he would put “rocket boosters” under the UK commercial rooftop sector, with his successor Amber Rudd similarly talking up the “untapped potential” of the market, while a national solar strategy document released by the government during Barker's time in office also appeared to put emphasis on growth in the segment.

Recent opinions from industry figures canvassed by magazine Solar Business Focus UK, also from PV Tech’s publisher Solar Media, appeared to bear out this high level of expectation.

Nick Boyle, head of the UK’s largest PV operator, Lightsource Renewable Energy, said that while the promised rocket boosters were yet to materialise, his company saw enough potential in the sector to act early. Lightsource has already rolled out its own rooftop division.

“I work in a world where all of our final aspirations seem to be cut off at the knees because every time they change the feed-in tariff or the renewable obligation we have to start again. Of course the Department of Energy and Climate Change can help, they can extend permitted development, they can have the transfer ability of the panels to another roof without losing the subsidy – all of those things are easy, but they said a year ago that they would have that,” Boyle said.

“What are we meant to do, wait another year? The reason why we have launched this commercial offering is because I believe that the market is now ready, and I don’t mean the market from an installer perspective, I mean the market from a roof owner perspective.”

Boyle said however that the segment remained a challenging one. Seb Berry, head of public affairs at UK developer Solarcentury, said he saw commercial rooftops growing, but as seen before in UK solar, policy could be a tricky factor, especially with Britain holding a General Election in May.

“We expect solid growth in the UK rooftop sector – commercial and residential – in the UK, especially given availability of new financing options,” Berry said.

“But inevitably in what is general election year, the UK industry also faces an uncertain policy future, with key decisions to be taken later this year on the future of the FiT scheme and the need to improve the CfD auction process for SMEs.”

Additional reporting by Peter Bennett.

23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.
7 April 2022
Solarex Istanbul, Turkey’s first and unique exhibition on solar energy, provides a huge opportunity to Turkey on the way to being a solar energy hub. Solarex Istanbul will take place on 7-9 April 2022 for the 14th time. It will be a commercial platform to have the latest technologies and combination of new products from all around the world. It takes place annually at Istanbul Expo Center, Turkey. It is also called the most important platform for manufacturers, suppliers and dealers of the solar industry in Eurasia.

Read Next

January 27, 2022
Renewables owner and operator Brookfield Renewable has tripled its US development pipeline to 31GW through the US$650 million acquisition of clean power developer Urban Grid.
January 27, 2022
Hecate Energy’s first stage application for a 500MW solar PV plant in the state of New York has been accepted by the newly formed New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES).
January 27, 2022
Italian asset manager Green Arrow Capital (GAC) has signed a framework agreement with Spanish solar company Progressum Energy Developments (PED) to acquire 508MW of ready-to-build solar PV projects in Spain in a deal worth over €400 million (US$446 million).
January 27, 2022
Tesla’s solar installations jumped 68% in 2021 to 345MW despite a slight dip in additions year-on-year during the fourth quarter.
January 27, 2022
Major European solar developers have called on the European Union (EU) to develop a PV supply chain strategy to avoid cost increases and disruption to projects, with the group calling for 20GW of manufacturing capacity by 2030.
PV Tech Premium
January 26, 2022
s solar finds itself deployed in further and more far flung climes, it is also having to operate in increasingly harsher climates. In this article, VDE Renewables assesses how such climates affect PV performance and what must be taken into consideration when formulating O&M strategies.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal
Solar Media Events
April 25, 2022
Berlin, Germany