MP praises ground-breaking research on Solar Independence Day

Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield praised the groundbreaking sustainability research taking place at Sheffield Solar when he visited the University of Sheffield to mark Solar Independence Day today (3 July).

Aldous Everard, Engineering Manager for Sheffield Solar with Paul Blomfield MP.

The Sheffield Solar 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.

Mr 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.

Mr Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, said: “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, which was on Friday 3 July, is the UK’s annual solar celebration showcasing 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.”

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