Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield praises groundbreaking sustainability research taking place at Sheffield Solar during visit to the University of Sheffield on Solar Independence Day.
Sheffield Solar is part of Energy 2050 and the Grantham Centre. It has been active since 2010. Sheffield Solar operate the UK’s largest database of electricity generation data from rooftop solar panels. Further, it promotes the sharing of knowledge and data between industry, society and academia.
The project helps homeowners and businesses keep their solar energy systems working by giving them a tool which flags up any loss in performance. Sheffield Solar’s Microgen Database allows them to monitor their solar panel systems, identify faults and compare performance with others around them.
People considering installing solar panels can get a prediction of how their system will perform, based on the data from others.
This data is used in research projects at the University of Sheffield that compare predicted levels of solar energy in different regions of the UK to the actual levels generated. Researchers are also mapping patterns of solar energy generation to help to assess the impact solar technologies are having on the electricity grid.
Paul Blomfield was shown around the Sheffield Solar test bed on the roof of the Hicks Building by Aldous Everard, Engineering Manager for Sheffield Solar.
There, new photovoltaic technologies are assessed to help bring more solar technology into the UK’s energy system.
“There is no more important challenge than addressing climate change. Solar energy is an important part of the renewable plan that will enable us to do it and I’m really energised to see the work that the University is doing to enable us to understand what we can do to make the most of it.”
Solar Independence Day is the UK’s annual solar celebration.
It showcases solar homes, solar schools, commercial solar rooftops and solar farms. It is organised by the Solar Trade Association and sites around the country invite visitors to learn more about solar energy.
Dr Alastair Buckley, Academic Director of Sheffield Solar, said: “Over the last five years solar has proven itself to be mature enough and cost effective enough to be major part of the UK energy system. The challenge now is to understand what investments are required in the electricity networks to keep growing the contribution that solar makes.”
A number of Grantham Scholars research sustainable energy.
How to make sustainable energy for all. Reena Sayani researches mini-grids. We found out all about her work in this interview with her.
And Saeed Mohammed Wazed is developing a solar-powered pump. This pump is for agricultural use and will improve income, food and energy security in developing countries.
Katie Sumner is examining the consequences of the decentralisation of energy production for local energy demand.
Meanwhile, Teng Zhang is investigating the energy efficiency of electrically powered public transport.