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Bifacial solar cell boon for Scotland?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Research into the benefits of Scotland moving to double-sided solar panels (bifacial solar cells) could mean £400m of additional annual revenue to the Scottish economy.

Heriot-Watt University, in partnership with the Wood Group aim to build a case for bifacial panels across the globe, with the cells producing up to 25% more energy than the same projected area due to their ability to convert irradiation captured on both the front and rear sides.

The Solar Trade Association predicts that Scottish solar panels will rise to 1.5GW by 2030. The 25% enhanced energy yield of bifacial versus monofacial panels with the same projected area, could mean generation would increase to almost 2GW, equating to £400m of additional annual revenue to the Scottish economy, along with over 2,000 new jobs created.

Predictions also include £200m a year savings for Scottish industry and household and over half a billion kgCO2/year emissions reduction.

Alan Mortimer, director of innovation at Wood, said: “Heriot-Watt University is recognised as the best in its field and we are thrilled to, once again, be working together to create a low-carbon future. 

“Bifacial panels with their lower cost of energy will help accelerate the global energy transition by allowing many more companies and consumers to make the switch.

“Solar energy is one of the fastest-growing renewable technologies and through this partnership, we will not only drive continuous improvements for our customers but also boost the quality of research within the university by ensuring it has practical applications in industry.”

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) has committed to try and make Scotlands buildings as near to zero carbon by 2050 by combining wind and solar assets. 

Facebook inks virtual power purchase agreement for renewables

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Digital Realty has signed a virtual power purchase agreement on behalf of Facebook to support the social media giant’s renewable energy goals at data centre facilities.

Under the agreement, Digital Realty has executed a long-term renewable power purchase contract to secure approximately 80 megawatts of solar power capacity for Facebook.

Digital Realty contracted with SunEnergy1, which has developed and will own and operate the solar project, to be located within Virginia Electric and Power Company territory in North Carolina.

Under the terms of the agreement, all renewable energy certificates and environmental claims will be delivered to Facebook.

The partners say the agreement marks the first back-to-back utility-scale renewable energy transaction between a data centre provider landlord utilising a virtual power purchase agreement to underpin the renewable energy supply dedicated to a customer.

Digital Realty says it worked in partnership with Facebook to structure the transaction to align with Facebook’s quality standards for new renewable energy projects within the same power grid as the data centre load.

“Our scale and position as a leader in data center sustainability enabled us to execute this first of its kind agreement in support of Facebook’s sustainability goals,” said Digital Realty Chief Executive Officer A. William Stein. “Many of our customers have specific renewable energy requirements, and we work diligently to provide cost-competitive solutions tailored to their needs. We were able to take Facebook’s quality standards and timeline into consideration and deliver this solution in a competitive marketplace and at a competitive price. We are very pleased to be part of the solution enabling Facebook to achieve its renewable energy goals.”

“Facebook is committed to supporting all of its operations with 100% renewable energy and to improving overall access to renewable markets,” said Bobby Hollis, Director of Global Energy and Site Selection at Facebook. “We are thrilled Digital Realty has entered into this agreement and hope this will serve as a model for other colocation customers seeking to support their operations with high-quality, renewable energy projects.”

To-date, Digital Realty has contracted for approximately 745,000 megawatt-hours of renewable generation annually through long-term power purchase agreements, avoiding approximately 525,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.