News – April 2020

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICS DEPLOYMENT


Source Gov Beis
Posted: 30 April 2020

Provisionally, as of the end of March 2020 there is a total of 13,484 MW installed UK solar capacity across 1,034,495 installations. This is an increase of 1.4% (190 MW) since March 2019.

  • During March 2020, there have been 3,327 installations. This was 79 per cent fewer installations than in March 2019. This fall in new installations is due to the closure of the Feedin-tariff scheme at the end of March 2019. The number of new installations in March 2019 was especially high at around 15,000, the highest monthly figure since January 2016. The vast majority (83%) of these new installations were sub-4kW installations and the total installed capacity for the month has increased by 15 MW. In December 2019 two large installations came online: the York Solar Farm and Staughton Airfield Solar farm.
  • To date, 45% (6,069 MW) of total installed solar PV capacity comes from the 466 large scale installations (greater than 5 MW). Whilst 92.8% of all installations are sub-4kW, these only amount to 20.1% (2,716 MW) of total installed solar PV capacity in the UK.
  • At the end of December 2019 (end Quarter 4), 58% of capacity (7,695 MW) came from ground-mounted or standalone solar installations. This includes the two operational solar farms to be accredited for Contracts for Differences (Charity and Triangle solar farms).
UK Solar Deployment Chart

UK Solar Deployment: By Capacity

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE ESG:
Understanding Environmental, Social, and Governance Criteria


Source  Rupert Harrow, Founder Director of Footprint Zero

Posted: 20 April 2020

The Global economy has stalled, industry and countries are hit at differing levels, and the governments around the world talk of a new normal. I won’t profess to be able to suggest what that looks like, nor who will be best and least effected. What I will touch on is the subject of ESG and its growing importance in how companies operate, and financiers base their decisions; that will certainly impact us all, and as business directly able to positively impact ESG, I wanted to discuss it, and pose a thought process.

So, what is ESG criteria?

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

In short, could we describe it as a framework to formalise one’s moral compass?

Environmental criteria may include a company’s energy use, waste, pollution, natural resource conservation, and treatment of animals. The criteria can also be used in evaluating any environmental risks a company might face and how the company is managing those risks. For example, are there issues related to its ownership of contaminated land, its disposal of hazardous waste, its management of toxic emissions, or its compliance with government environmental regulations?

Social criteria look at the company’s business relationships. Does it work with suppliers who hold the same values as it claims to hold? Does the company donate a percentage of its profits to the local community, or encourage employees to perform volunteer work there? Do the company’s working conditions show high regard for its employees’ health and safety?  Are other stakeholders’ interests taken into account? 

With regard to governance, investors may want to know that a company uses accurate and transparent accounting methods and that stockholders are given an opportunity to vote on important issues. They may also want assurances that companies avoid conflicts of interest in their choice of board members; don’t use political contributions to obtain unduly favourable treatment; and of course don’t engage in illegal practices.

There’s good reason for investors to put this emphasis on ESG questions.

Companies with risk management practices that take into consideration broader industry, regulatory and societal risks, are more likely to drive long-term sustainable performance—and shareholder value. For both the corporate and investment world, a failure to discuss ESG risks can be dangerous. Extreme climate events could impact operations; a cyber breach might threaten data; a lawsuit over gender discrimination, or product quality could impact the brand and the bottom line. If such risks become reality, both corporates and their investors would suffer.  Investors are increasingly sending strong signals that they are focused on ESG risks, but many corporates still have sustainability teams working in isolation.  As a result, investor relations and finance, as well as the C-suite, often fail to integrate sustainability risks into their long-term strategy discussions with investors.  The gap persists, but solutions exist.  If investors send a crisp and consistent message—and clarify the value at stake for companies—they’re more likely to get companies to respond.  With such pressure from investors, corporates will embed ESG factors into their overall strategy and risk oversight discussions.  They’ll be better able to present their risk-mitigation and value creation story – including the growth potential from identifying and managing ESG issues and shape the narrative around their brand and practices.

Both sides stand to gain, so It’s time to bring perspectives together to build a future with better management and sustainable value creation for all stakeholders.

Footprint Zero can be integral to your ESG dialogue and improving your Environmental criteria, which in turn improves your overall ESG appeal to investors.

A DOG WALK IN THE SUN IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR


Source  Mick Holton, Strategic Advisor to Footprint Zero

Posted: 15 April 2020

Like many dog owners, I take my pooch out for a daily walk, come rain or shine.  Many days I enjoy the scenery, the sunshine, the wildlife and the peace – but, like everybody else, I often find my mind wandering when it’s free to roam.

During today’s staying-alert oriented walk I found myself reflecting on photos that appeared in my newsfeed over recent weeks of what cities and landmarks looked like before and during lockdown.  Hopefully you know what I’m referring to – those pictures which contrasted scenes captured during old normal bustling times and how they looked just a few days later, sometimes appearing to have become silent and eery, and, at others, peaceful or energised.  A number of examples contrasted volumes of people, from dense to (almost) none.  Others showed a previously prevalent haze which had cleared to reveal blue sky or clean water.

I think the first example I saw was of a scene of the canals of Venice.  I’ve no idea whether the contrasting scene actually went from hazy to clear due to an absence of pollution, perhaps the first was just taken on a foggy day, but there is much evidence that during lockdown, across the world, air pollution decreased.  So my thought process on today’s dog walk led to the conclusion that our world has the capacity to repair itself and that we should do what we can to give it the chance to do so as we move forward.

Air pollution is an invisible assailant.  We don’t have daily briefings from Downing Street on how many people it’s impacted on any given day – and I’m not suggesting we should.  However, there is much talk of what people would like to see as we look to find a new normal.  I know many have been quick to highlight, rightly in my opinion, that our approach should focus on being better.

An article in The Times on 9 May revealed that China, post lockdown, with factories open and looking to gets its economy back on track, had higher pollution levels than it had at the same time last year.  I also recently read an article from Carbon Brief highlighting that a number of leading economists believe that investment in green technology is not only good for the environment but could also offer the best economic returns for government spending.

I’ve recently been working with and advising Footprint Zero, a business focused on utilising existing assets such as commercial roofs to deploy solar technology which in turn will produce clean, green energy.  I like the reason the company exists and the passion the team have for reducing carbon emissions and delivering great client service.  As somebody who has spent the majority of the last decade in renewable generation and as an experienced CFO, I believe in the client-focused options the business offers, enabling them at one end to save money on electricity and at the other to invest in a greener future, at a solid rate of return.

I believe that there will be a number of businesses, both old and new, that will help us build a better new normal.  I hope Footprint Zero will be one of them.  Implementing their strategy will contribute to a world in which one of the positive side-effects of lockdown becomes a permanent feature of a new world.

CHANNELING THE POWER OF THE SUN


Thoughts from an isolated Rupert Harrow, Founder Director at Footprint Zero.
Posted: 9 April 2020

 

While I sit at my desk contemplating the new Covid 19 world we live in, I have found my mind drifting to movies that have solitary, isolation and separation in their themes and the impact it has on the characters in the narrative.

Clearly there are some obvious titles that leap out, and maybe you have some suggestions to add to my list.

Repunzel and Tangled were two films that my daughters’ suggested.

Castaway featured Tom Hanks marooned on a desert island with just a football called Wilson to keep him company. He understandably lost some sense of reality but maybe managed to improve his “keepy uppy skills?

Papillon, the true story of Henri Charierre, graphically chronicles his quest for freedom from the French penal system that incarcerated him for a crime he did not commit.  However, as this tale did not focus just on the isolation he endured at the end of his sentences, it cannot be at the top of my list of movies.

Apollo 13 is a multi-award-winning depiction of the true story where NASA were calmly advised, “Houston, we have a problem”, surely one of the great examples of understatement.

Many thousands of miles above earth in a rapidly deteriorating tin can, must have been a fear few can imagine, and required the greatest of calm and team work to remedy.

But the thought of space travel has led me to my greatest movie where “isolation” is my theme, The Martian.  Matt Damon considered dead by his support team had to work out his options and plan the solutions with little to guide him, other than his training, his skills as a Botanist and the power of the sun.

As someone who seeks to have solar panels on every new commercial build in the country (on earth), you will forgive me for landing on this film as my favourite.

It was the immense power of the sun that gave him his energy source from which all else was possible. He could heat and light his accommodation, he could fuel the growing of his food source, he powered his transport and most crucially managed to power his communications with earth.

This predictability of a renewable resource combined with smart application of best in class technology meant he survived what Mars had to throw at him – and get safely back to earth.

I am not suggesting Footprint Zero solar solutions will enable space travel. That would be far fetched! But we can offer reliable renewable energy generation from property assets you probably don’t utilise to the max. Ask us to come for a site visit to give you a quote, just don’t ask us to come to the “Red Planet”.