Climate change is widely recognised as one of the biggest global challenges facing mankind today. A rise in global temperatures is being caused by increased levels of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide).  This increase is a direct result of human activity.  There is now broad consensus in the global scientific community that man-made increases in greenhouse gases can be directly linked to significant changes in our climate.  If not reversed, this has the potential to cause severe damage to our climate and have a potentially devastating effect on humanity.

The fifth assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states:

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.”[1]

Legislation around the world is slowly catching up to this challenge, helping to transition the global economy to a low-carbon future.  Ireland has its part to play.  It has a mandatory EU target of ensuring at least 16% of its gross final energy consumption is from renewable sources by 2020.  By 2030, this increases to 27%.  In its latest White Paper on energy, the Irish government outlined its vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector by 80-95% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

PV solar will have a meaningful part to play in helping Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe achieve ambitious de-carbonisation goals.  At JBM Solar, we are proud to make a small contribution to the fight against climate change, facilitating the deployment of Solar PV, a low carbon technology that enables the generation of electricity without the release of harmful greenhouse gases.

[1] Climate Change 2014, A Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

“No challenge posers a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” Barack Obama.

“Climate change is a terrible problem and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority,” Bill Gates.

“We are running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe,” Elon Musk.

“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it,”  Barack Obama.

Solar Benefits: There are various forms of renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal. What all these energy sources have in common is that they are indeed renewable and not in limited supply, as is the case with fossil fuels.  Renewable energy also has the distinct benefit of producing no carbon emissions during operation. Of the various renewable energy sources available to us, we at JBM believe that Solar is by far the most beneficial for the reasons outlined below. We therefore focus solely on the deployment of Solar PV ahead of other technologies.

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that,” – Thomas A. Edison.

 Solar is an abundant and largely untapped source of energy. Every 24 hours enough sunlight touches the Earth to provide enough energy for the entire planet for 24 years.

 Ireland currently imports more than 85% of its total energy fuel needs.  Following a period in the 1980s and 1990s when it became a net exporter of energy, the UK reverted to being a net importer of energy in 2004, peaking at almost 50% of energy in 2014.

Solar, as with other renewable sources, does not depend on the continuous import of fuel from other countries. Imported oil, natural gas and coal must be paid for and shipped thousands of miles before being consumed, thereby making economies vulnerable to changes in global geopolitical stability and any associated effects on energy pricing.

 The use of solar energy helps gives certainty to the cost of supplying energy over long periods of time.  With the variable cost of producing energy at zero, most renewables help to drive down the wholesale cost of energy at times of high production.

Unlike wind energy, which often has high production at night, solar energy is produced during the day when demand is often highest. Deployment of solar in Ireland will provide useful balance to the existing wind assets already producing power on the Island.  In the UK, significant solar installed capacity is already helping to generate significant percentages of daytime demand

Widespread adoption of solar in Ireland will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.  A recent KPMG report [2] estimates that widespread deployment of solar in Ireland could create €2 billion in Gross Value Added for the economy and sustain more than 7,000 jobs annually.

[2] A Brighter Future – The Potential Benefits of Solar PV in Ireland. A report published by KPMG

Solar PV is modular by design meaning an installation can consist of anything from a small number of panels on a residential roof to utility scale deployment on large tracts of land.

Solar can be assimilated into the landscape much easier than wind turbines, for example.  A well screened solar site can be all but invisible to the public.  There are no moving parts, no noise and low ongoing maintenance requirement means little or no traffic to and from the site once operational.

 Traditional power generation model relied on a small number of large centralised power stations generating large amounts of power to be shipped the length and breadth of the country through expensive transmission networks.  Solar, in contrast can be deployed as embedded generation far closer to population centres where the power is being consumed, greatly reducing the need for construction of new pylons.