Solar Photovoltaics Business Briefing

Solar Photovoltaics Business Briefing
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"This easy-to-understand guide offers a comprehensive overview of why solar PV makes environmental and economic sense. It is essential reading for business owners considering installations." 


This DōShort explains, for a UK business audience, the technical, scientific and economic aspects of solar photovoltaics (PV) technologies. It is useful to anyone considering a business use of solar PV, whether an investor, potential purchaser, or thinking of setting up a company in the sector. 

It succinctly examines: 
their applications and how to assess them; 
the prospects and drivers for cost reductions and implementation; 
the role of PV in carbon offsetting;
and the business case for and against investment. 

It will arm the reader with sufficient knowledge to talk to contractors or to compile a business investment case for senior management.

PV is the sunrise sector for electricity generation; the renewable technology whose time has come. Clean and with no moving parts to wear out, it interfaces neatly with other technologies in our digital world. Cost curves are decreasing and installation curves exponentially rising. Due to the Feed-in Tariff support silicon-based cells receive, within the next five to eight years, the lowering production costs and technological innovations will mean that solar electricity will be poised to find even more widespread applications. 


"This is an essential source of information for actual or prospective solar investors, and recommended reading for all solar enthusiasts. A well researched, and authoritative work on an important sector. David Thorpe knows his subject inside out."
OLIVER TICKELL, author of Kyoto2 (Zed Books: 2008), greentech entrepreneur, environmental writer, and solar enthusiast with a 4kW array on his roof. He is an advisor to the new Green House Think Tank.


David Thorpe has 25 years' experience of research, consultancy and journalism on environmental issues. He is News Editor of Energy and Environmental Management Magazine and author of several books including Solar Technology: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Using Solar Energy for Heating, Cooling and Electricity (2011) and Sustainable Home Refurbishment: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Retrofitting Homes for Efficiency (2010).

His latest initiative is Green Deal Advice, which provides sustainable refurbishment renewables advice to help property owners make the most of the Green Deal, Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Heat Incentive. He is probably the only person in the world to hold a degree in Dada and Surrealism.


1. About this book
1.1 Who it is for
1.2 Introduction
1.3 Energy basics

2. What is solar power?
2.1 How much energy is there?
2.2 Solar electricity
2.2.1 Photovoltaics Advantages Disadvantages
2.2.2 Where best to deploy PV
2.3 The growth in PV
2.3.1 Reality check
2.4 Costs are falling
2.5 Energy efficiency

3. The photovoltaic effect
3.1 Types of cell
3.1.1 Silicon Concentrated solar power
3.1.2 Thin film
3.2 Power output
3.2.1 Lifetime
3.3 Environmental impact
3.3.1 Recycling
3.3.2 Energy payback

4. Applications
4.1 Grid-connected - small scale
4.2 Grid-connected: larger or utility scale
4.2.1 The advantage of speed
4.3 Building integrated PV (BIPV)
4.4 Stand-alone systems
4.4.1 Telecoms and weather stations
4.4.2 Road furniture
4.4.3 Gadgets
4.5 Transport
4.6 PVs in space

5. The cost of PV systems
5.01 The ‘levelised cost of energy’ 
5.02 Cost uncertainties
5.03 Grid parity
5.1 Capital costs
5.1.1 Operating Costs
5.1.2 Cost comparisons Location drivers Policy drivers
5.2 Feed-in Tariffs
5.2.1 Capacity trigger
5.3 State of the industry
5.3.1 Long term outlook
5.3.2 Desertec
5.3.3 Short term outlook
5.3.4 Outlook for solar farms
5.4 Advice to installers

6. Planning a solar installation
6.1 System components
6.2 Calculating output
6.2.1 UK SAP guidelines
6.3 General design advice
6.4 Ideal locations
6.5 Costs
6.5.1 Estimating cost saving
6.5.2 Estimating CO2 emissions saved
6.6 Inverters
6.7 Maintenance
6.8 Sourcing & talking to suppliers
6.9 Example

7. Investing in PV
7.1 Drivers
7.2 UK Standards
7.3 Insurance
7.4 Planning
7.5 Business plan
7.5.1 Implementation timescale
7.6 Financial support
7.6.1 Grants and subsidies
7.6.2 Community projects
7.6.3 Tax rebates
7.7 Investment opportunities
7.7.1 The CDM 
7.7.2 Joint Implementation (JI)
7.7.3 VERs
7.7.4 Loans to installers
7.8 Utility level developers 
7.8.1 Energy Service Companies 
7.9 Warranties

8. Sources of information
8.1 Official UK policy
8.2 On solar irradiance
8.3 Sources of advice

9. Decision tree


Title: Solar Photovoltaics Business Briefing
Author: David Thorpe
Publication Date: September 2012
Page extent: 106
Formats and ISBNs: 
pdf: 9781909293052
epub: 9781909293045
print: 9781909293038