Solar protest group looks to Power Roll for rooftop solution

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Power Roll, a developer of low-cost and lightweight flexible solar film, is collaborating with a Derbyshire-based community action group to build a business case for rooftop solar as an alternative to a proposed 50 MW solar farm, which is seeking planning consent on a 300-acre greenfield site.

The action group, Save Alfreton Countryside (SAC), supports the growth of renewable energy but is opposed to inappropriate use of greenfield sites to host large-scale solar. The proposed solar farm would occupy countryside on the edge of the Peak District National Park.

“We are responsible environmentalists; that’s why we are advocating credible alternatives to ground-mounted solar farms,” said John Cleary, SAC’s chairman. “When the planning application was submitted for a solar farm that would engulf 300 acres of green fields adjacent to Alfreton we wanted to put forward a positive alternative rather than simply protesting. We saw what Power Roll is doing and it seems like the perfect solution as it’s lightweight, flexible and cost-effective solar. Being a British company championing new technology we felt was a strong message as the profits will stay in the UK, which is not the case for the solar farm proposal.”

Power Roll partnered with specialists Energeo to analyse the rooftop solar potential of a local industrial park in Alfreton. Energeo uses geospatial big data to forecast the solar potential of buildings and has helped many local authorities to assess the solar capacity of the built estate to meet net zero targets. Energeo’s analysis suggests that using Power Roll’s solar film on rooftops, just one of the industrial parks in Alfreton could support around 30 MW of solar capacity.

“The public is very supportive of solar PV, but that may change if we continue to pursue mega-scale projects that use hundreds of acres of greenfield land,” said Neil Spann, chief executive, Power Roll. “Our solar film enables the use of buildings and surfaces that are unsuitable for traditional heavy, rigid panels. We’re delighted to be working with SAC to help support the growth of sustainable renewable energy in Derbyshire.”

SAC is engaging with Derbyshire County Council to discuss its proposal for sustainable alternatives to the ground-mounted solar farm.

Power Roll is seeking partners with expertise in roll-to-roll manufacturing to help scale up volume production in the UK.

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