Solar power

Definition: Solar power is energy harnessed from the sun's rays. It is a renewable energy source, meaning it is a cleaner, more sustainable alternative to burning fossil fuels. Solar power produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses relatively little land space.

Large-scale solar generation can either use the sun’s heat or light to create energy. Some solar systems use heat, while others transform light energy into electricity. Most generators use solar cells or photovoltaics, but solar water heating and solar furnaces can also be utilised. Solar cells are the most common form of solar energy and can be organised as offsite solar farms or placed into business operations or on households as small-scale arrays, usually on roofs.

How does solar power work?

Solar power is commonly generated from cells that are small in size, but are often used in larger units called solar modules. These modules can also be coupled into bigger units known as solar panels.

Certain materials exhibit properties that allow them to absorb light photons from the sun and release electrons. Once captured, the electrons can form an electric current to be used as electricity. Silicon is the most popular semi-conductor for solar cells, and is capable of freeing up electrons from the absorbed sunlight.

The internal organisation of silicon atoms mean that the electrons are effectively funnelled into a directional flow, as different atoms become positively or negatively charged. This creates an electrical field across the cell. As a semi-conductor, the silicon can maintain this balance, allowing the atoms to build up an electric charge which is transferred to power equipment.

Solar can also be used to conserve gas and electricity to heat water, although this is usually a domestic application. Solar is used to heat water in glass panels located on a roof, which is pumped to the panels via pipes. This helps the cut energy bills on energy that would otherwise be used on a central heating system.

What is the market size for solar power?

The amount of solar power added worldwide soared by 50% in 2016, as countries added more than 76GW in capacity. Globally there is now 305GW of solar power capacity, a huge increase on the 50GW capacity at the beginning of the decade.

The UK is considered a leader for the European solar market, accounting for 29% of installed capacity in 2016 alone, followed by Germany with 21% and France at 8.3%. However, a turbulent policy environment meant that the UK added just half of the solar capacity of 2015 levels.

In total, solar capacity has reached 10GW across the UK. And, for six months of the year, the 6,964 gigawatt hours (GWh) generated by solar - 5.4% of the UK’s electricity demand – outperformed the 6,342GWh generated by coal.

 

What are the business benefits of installing solar power?

Solar power benefits from a rapidly shrinking capital expenditure. 2016 marked the first time that the new solar capacity added has been greater than any other electricity-producing technology, because of favourable economic outputs.

Provided that businesses can overcome the capital hurdle, they should consider whether ground-mounted or roof panels are desirable. as a general guide, one square metre of solar panel equates to 150W of power, so businesses should ensure they have adequate space beforehand.

If solar generation does prove worthwhile, the benefits will vary. As well as lowering carbon emissions, businesses can cut down on purchasing costs for electricity, and the growing popularity of energy storage creates scope for businesses to generate income by sending surplus renewable energy back to the grid or storing for later use.

Solar panels don’t require much maintenance once installed, making them a popular choice for all types of businesses. However, panels should be kept clean, otherwise efficiency levels could fall by 30%. Businesses must also consider that solar power is intermittent, meaning that it won’t produce at night, while yields drop on cloudy days.

What are the costs of installing solar power?

Solar costs have fallen by more than 80% in less than decade, making the technology the world’s cheapest form of renewable energy.

For a small commercial 5-9kW system, upfront costs range between £8,000-£14,500 while a larger 50kW system costs around £70,000. If self-funding, expect around a 10-year payback on a mid-range system. If financed through a third party Power Purchase Agreement for 10-20 years, a business should expect to see at least a 5% reduction on its energy bill in the first year.

What are the business requirements when installing solar power?

For roof solar, a survey must be conducted and ownership and permission rights need to be established if a business is operating in a multi-occupancy building. Ground solar also requires title searches. While many sites have little issue receiving permitted consent, planning consent can depend on a range of factors, such as if glare from the panels would impact surrounding areas. This a common hurdle near airport runways.

For landowners such as farmers who are seeking to implement solar fields, planning application fees can potentially reach £250,000 and the local authority will have to perform a site visit during assessment.

What is the policy backdrop for solar power?

Government subsidies for solar PV have drastically reduced due to Feed-in Tariff (FITs) rate regression, but can still provide a modest contribution to cost savings. FiTs are paid for every kWh generated.

Certain criteria must be met to be FITs eligible and installers must be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) registered.

The overhaul of the business rates system in April this year also placed extra pressures on businesses with onsite solar systems. The draft rateable values for 2017 for all properties that pay business rates and owners of solar panels are split into two classes of those who mainly export and those who utilise the energy onsite.

Most solar systems exporting to the grid or via a Power Purchase Agreement to tenants will see a decrease in business rates, reflecting falling costs, and lower rates of subsidy, thanks to an agreement with the Solar Trade Association (STA). However, businesses that use most of the power themselves are faced with a six to eight-fold increase in business rates.

For solar thermal energy, the Government has dropped plans to remove it from the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and the technology will receive the same level of support (19.74p/kWh) over seven years.

See also: Photovoltaic

See also: Onsite generation

See also: Renewable energy

Related items

edie Explains: Scope 3 carbon emissions

What are Scope 3 emissions? How are they calculated? How can they be mitigated and reduced? And, what are the business benefits of doing so? This free edie Explains guide gives you everything you need to know.

The BESS installation has been supported by a £5m grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Cranfield University to install energy storage units using second-life EV batteries

Cranfield University will introduce three battery storage units at its Bedfordshire campus early next year, in a move that will enable the university to store and use renewable energy from a co-located solar farm.

EVs are just one manufacturing area that could be hit by supply issues

UK facing green industry supply chain pressures, urged to boost recycling and productivity

The UK is facing a supply chain crunch on critical components needed for green industries like electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, with a new Green Alliance report calling for the UK to build up domestic recycling of these valuable materials as part of energy saving measures.

Sunderland (pictured) is one of six new additions to the A-List

Which UK cities are the new climate 'A-Listers' - and why?

CDP has just published its 2021 Cities A-list, with the UK having more than twice as many locations on the list than in 2020. Here, edie looks at the 10 UK cities to have made the cut, summarising their green plans and progress to date.

Rolls Royce SMR estimates that each Small Modular Reactor could be capable of powering one million homes

Government allocates £210m for small modular nuclear reactors

The UK Government has confirmed a funding pot of £210m to assist the development of the small modular reactors (SMR) that will be backed by more than £250m in private sector investment.

Paul Polman spoke to edie within the Action Zone of COP26, at the end of the first week of the climate summit

Video Paul Polman on moving from 'blah, blah, blah' to 'action, action, action' in COP26 week 2

Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman has spoken to edie about the need to translate the 'tremendous' national announcements made so far at COP26 into transformative industry action, as we enter a crucial second week of the climate summit.

Innovations highlighted here could increase solar power uptake, make bioplastics more sustainable and decarbonise shipping

Algae-based plastics and energy from tomatoes: The best green innovations of October 2021

As October comes to a close, edie and our innovation partner Springwise have rounded up some of the best breakthrough technologies and carbon-cutting solutions which could accelerate climate action over the coming months and years.

The facility will include battery storage and a hydrogen refuelling station for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and forklift trucks

Budweiser to deliver carbon-neutral brewery through green hydrogen deal

Budweiser Brewing Group has unveiled plans to create its first green hydrogen supply to a brewery, through a new agreement with energy firm Protium to use onsite renewables at the Magor brewery in South Wales to generate hydrogen to power the facility.

Ikea's COP26 sponsorship and Cadbury's vegan chocolate: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

A force for good: How B Corps are shaping the future of sustainable business

With the B Corp movement continuing to gain momentum, this one-hour webinar will hear from the inspirational leaders and experts who have gone through the certification process and are actively making business a force for good among workers, suppliers, communities, and the environment.

Project TraDER, led by Electron, was funded via the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s FleX fund

Orkney flexibility trials deliver 24,000 peer-to-peer trades

A Government-backed local flexibility market trial has seen more than 24,000 peer-to-peer trades take place, enabling local wind energy to power homes and provide flexible services to the national energy market.

Innovations highlighted here could protect marine habitats, improve water access and accelerate electric vehicle adoption 

Coral-conserving bacteria and carbon capture tech: The best green innovations of September 2021

As September comes to a close, edie and our innovation partner Springwise have rounded up some of the best breakthrough technologies and carbon-cutting solutions which could accelerate climate action over the coming months and years.

Diageo unveiled a new commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2030

Diageo opens its first carbon-neutral distillery in Kentucky

Brewing giant Diageo has opened its first carbon-neutral distillery, located in Kentucky, that will use renewables and virtual metering technology to avoid the emissions equivalent to around 25,000 vehicles, as it builds towards its net-zero ambition for 2030.

The company will produce five million low-carbon cans using renewables across the value chain

Budweiser teams with EN+ Group in aim to produce its lowest carbon footprint for beer cans

The Budweiser Brewing Group has unveiled plans to trial the production of beer cans with its lowest lifecycle carbon footprint, by collaborating with key companies across the value chain including aluminium producer EN+ Group.

Construction of the base is scheduled for later this year, with completion set for late 2022

Dogger Bank: World's largest windfarm's operations base to be net-zero carbon

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm, off the North East coast of England, will have its new operations and maintenance (O&M) base constructed and operated under recognised standards for net-zero buildings.

The £265m earmarked for the next auction is the biggest yet, according to the Government

Government ringfences £265m for next Contracts for Difference auction

The UK Government has today (13 September) confirmed that up to £265m will be funnelled into the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction round, a record amount of money aimed at spurring uptake in clean energy deployment including offshore wind, solar and tidal technologies.

Pictured: Flooded fields in Atcham, Shropshire

Is UK Plc ignoring climate resilience on the road to net-zero?

Last month's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provided a stark warning - that all parts of the world will be affected by physical climate impacts already 'baked in', even if we reach net-zero. So, is the UK's business community doing enough to improve climate resiliency?

Hydrogen fire engines and India's newest solar farms: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

Last year, the City of London Corporation committed to reaching net-zero across its investments and supply chain by 2040

City of London Corporation issues contract to reduce energy costs by £500,000 annually

The City of London Corporation has awarded a contract to Vital Energi to carry out energy-related retrofits of iconic buildings such as the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music and Drama that will save almost £500,000 each year.

Heating, cooling and water at the site will be reused, while rainwater will be collected and used onsite

PepsiCo starts work on its 'most sustainable' European manufacturing plant

PepsiCo has held a foundation laying ceremony for a new PLN 1bn (£188m) food manufacturing plant in Poland, which it claims will be its most sustainable facility in Europe.

The guide is free to download for edie users

edie launches new explains guide on sub-metering

edie has today (24 August) launched a new Explains guide detailing everything the businesses need to know and consider when looking to install sub-metering solutions to assist with wider decarbonisation plans.

edie Explains: Sub-metering

What is sub-metering? What are the different ways an organisation can use submetering? What are the business benefits of sub- metering? What is the cost of installing sub-meters? And, how can sub-metering support other aspects of a business’ net-zero journey? This new Explains guide from edie answers all of these questions and more.

Earlier this year the brewer revealed that it had achieved 100% renewable electricity for its beverage production activities in the US

Anheuser-Busch to install US's largest solar project for a brewery

The US's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch has announced a $64m investment at its Los Angeles brewery that will see the largest onsite solar installation of any US brewery, with solar power set to generate more than 10% of the site's total electricity use.

Pictured: A solar project in Mallorca

Report: Clean electricity accounted for record two-thirds of EU's generation mix for first half of 2021

Renewables and nuclear power accounted for a record 66% of electricity production across the EU during the first half of 2021, with clean energy proving far more resilient to the pandemic than fossil fuels.

Part of the funding has been provided by the Government’s £160m Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support Scheme

Humber region to benefit from £260m offshore wind investment

More than £260m has been granted in Government funding to develop next generation wind turbines in the Humber region, in a move that will support the UK's net-zero vision while creating and safeguarding more than 1,000 green jobs.

Image: Newcastle International Airport 

Newcastle International Airport unveils plans for solar farm as part of net-zero vision

Newcastle International Airport has launched a consultation on plans for an onsite solar farm, after stating its intention to achieve net-zero operational emissions by 2035.

Sky Kids' climate show and record renewable energy investment: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

Each company is progressing towards ambitious climate targets

Mars, Diageo and Dropbox unveil major renewables milestones

Mars, Diageo and Dropbox have all unveiled plans to add more renewables to their electricity mix, with Diageo planning for an onsite solar farm in Scotland.

A decline in wind investments was offset by offerings from renewable energy firms

Renewable energy investments reach new heights for first half of 2021

Investment into clean energy projects and companies swelled to $174bn in the first half of 2021, with record levels of public market financing offsetting a decline in renewable project investments.

The roadmap divides city-based emissions into five sectors that have the greatest climate impact

Roadmap developed to help Oxford reach net-zero emissions by 2040

A new science-based roadmap has been developed outlining how carbon budgets, rooftop solar and electric vehicles (EVs) can help Oxford reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

Anglian Water will also develop an offsetting strategy for residual emissions by planting 50 hectares of woodland on its sites

Onsite renewables and EVs: Anglian Water outlines net-zero routemap for 2030

Anglian Water has published a detailed routemap outlining how onsite renewables, electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen and biogas production will deliver its ambition to reach net-zero by 2030.

Pictured: Solar panels being installed on a farm in India

Report: Global demand for fossil-fuel-fired electricity has peaked

After demand for fossil fuels for electricity generation peaked across developed markets in 2007, it has now peaked across developing markets as well, according to a new report.

Scope 3 emissions account for 98% of the company's emissions

Lidl commits to carbon neutrality by 2022

Lidl GB has announced plans to become a carbon-neutral business by 2022 alongside wider commitments to reduce operational emissions and encouraging key suppliers to set their own climate commitments.

Pictured: The Gridserve electric forecourt in Braintree, Essex. Image: Greenhouse PR/Gridserve 

50 new EV 'supercharging' hubs planned for UK

Gridserve, the company behind the UK's first "electric forecourt", has announced plans to launch a UK-wide network of rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging points in a bid to help combat range anxiety.

The study will explore how smarter home energy usage can assist with the UK's net-zero target

CrowdFlex: Energy giants launch study on domestic energy flexibility

Octopus Energy and electric vehicle (EV) charging experts Ohme have partnered with the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to analyse the attitudes and behaviour of more than 25,000 households in relation to EVs and smart home solutions.

RE100 members have created a demand for 334TWh of renewable electricity

Business demand for renewables greater than that of UK's total power usage

Businesses that have made public commitments to procure 100% renewable energy have created a combined demand that is bigger than the national requirements from the likes of the UK and Italy, with separate research showing that two-thirds of renewables globally are cheaper than fossil fuels.

Trebling solar capacity would see carbon emissions fall by 21.2 million tonnes annually, equating to 4.7% of the UK’s emissions in 2019

UK set to double solar capacity by 2030, but more required to help reach net-zero

The UK is on course to double its solar capacity by 2030, but will need to treble it if the nation is to meet its net-zero target for 2050, with Solar Energy UK calling for overhauls to policy to spur the national market.

The 2027 target for UK operations will assist with a global net-zero target for 2040

Vodafone to reach net-zero carbon emissions in UK by 2027

Vodafone plans to eliminate carbon emissions from its entire UK operations by 2027, as part of a sweeping set of commitments that will see the technology giant invest in electric vehicles (EVs) and update supplier contracts based on environmental credentials.

#SustyTalk: Budweiser Brewing Group's Mauricio Coindreau on renewable energy procurement

edie's #SustyTalk interview series continues with an exclusive discussion with Budweiser Brewing Group's head of procurement & sustainability Mauricio Coindreau.

Ikea states that achieving 100% renewable electricity through suppliers in Poland, China and India will save 670,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually

Ikea launches renewables programme for direct suppliers

Ikea has unveiled a new programme that will ensure that all of its direct suppliers are powered by 100% renewable electricity, as the retailer pushes towards its commitment to become 'climate positive' by 2030 by reducing more emissions than the value chain emits.

AB InBev is aiming to reduce value chain emissions by 25% by 2025

AB InBev cuts emissions through new lightweight beer bottle design

The world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has unveiled new lightweight beer bottles that have a reduced carbon footprint of 17% compared to its other bottle types, with plans in place to roll them out across Europe.

Pictured: Staff at the new solar farm in Texas, which took almost two years to complete. Image: Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch meets 100% renewable energy goal four years early

Beer giant Anheuser-Busch has achieved 100% renewable electricity for its beverage production activities in the US - a goal originally set for 2025.

Global average solar installation costs are likely to be down 10% year-on-year, according to the IEA

IEA: Renewables set to attract 70% of global energy investment in 2021

Global energy investment is likely to rebound to pre-pandemic levels this year, with most finance going towards renewables - but, ultimately, the new generation capacity financed will not be compatible with long-term climate goals.

The success of the transition would hinge on enabling policies and roadmaps, steered by the UK Government

UK can create 200,000 jobs through clean technology drive

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has claimed that the UK can reach 100% renewable electricity in the next 11 years, with clean technology uptake set to create 200,000 new jobs provided the Government can deliver enabling policies.

The latest RECAI warns that future renewables deployment will require a further $5.2trn of investment

UK climbs energy investment rankings, but concerns persist over green finance availability

The UK has climbed one position to fourth in the rankings for EY's national attractiveness of renewable energy investment, but the organisation has warned that global green finance efforts need to improve considerably to meet clean energy demand for existing climate commitments.

Low Carbon Hub believes that surplus energy produced from Ray Valley Solar will create more than £10m of community benefit funding

UK’s largest community-owned solar park to come online next year

The Ray Valley Solar project in Oxford is expected to come online next autumn, after Triodos Bank confirmed lending for what is expected to be the UK’s largest community-owned solar park.

Pictured: Solar infrastructure in Shanghai

IEA: Renewable energy to account for 90% of new power expansion post-Covid-19

After capacity additions continued to grow during 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is forecasting that "exceptionally high" growth is likely to continue during this year and next.

Pictured: Wind turbines in Kokkolantie, Finland

LEAK: EU's draft renewables law confirms 38-40% target for 2030

An early draft of the EU's upcoming renewable energy directive confirms the bloc's objective of sourcing 38-40% of its energy from renewables by 2030, roughly doubling the share of solar, wind and other renewables in Europe's energy mix by the end of the decade.

Image: Johnson & Johnson Vision

Johnson & Johnson Vision to power global HQ with 100% solar electricity

Johnson & Johnson Vision, the manufacturer of ACUVUE contact lenses, has signed a ten-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with a solar farm to cover 100% of the electricity consumption of its headquarters.

Solar costs have fallen by an average of 18% every year since 2010 with wind prices down 9% annually

Report: Solar and wind can meet global energy demand 100 times over

The tumbling costs of wind and solar can unlock demand that could power the world 100 times over, with a new report from think tank Carbon Tracker finding that renewables are set to push fossil fuels out of the electricity mix by the mid-2030s.

Ground-mounted arrays accounted for the majority of capacity additions

UK's solar sector 'rebounding from pandemic and subsidy closures'

175MW of solar generation capacity was installed across the UK between January and March, according to new figures, compared to just 60MW in the same quarter of 2020.

Heineken is also joining the Business Ambition for 1.5C, the Race to Zero and the RE100 programme to accelerate decarbonisation and increase clean energy uptake

Heineken targets carbon-neutral value chain by 2040

Global brewer Heineken has unveiled a new corporate strategy to become carbon-neutral across its operations by 2030 and then across its entire value chain by 2040.

A further 80 solar farms are to be introduced across the Army’s estate in the next seven years

British Army to switch on first solar farm as part of net-zero aspiration

The British Army is progressing with the first of four solar photovoltaic farms, which will save more than £1m in energy costs and help the Army reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

The guide is free to download for edie users

edie launches new business guide on net-zero carbon heating

edie has today (7 April) launched a new guide detailing everything businesses need to know and consider when looking to decarbonise heating in line with the net-zero movement.

Earlier this year, Etsy set science-based targets and pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2030

Etsy to offset emissions from packaging materials

Online retailer Etsy has confirmed its intention to offset all of the carbon emissions associated with its packaging, as it builds towards its net-zero emissions commitment set for 2030.

When the carbon intensity reached its lowest, wind energy accounted for 39% of the electricity mix, with solar and nuclear delivering 21% and 16% respectively

UK records lowest power grid carbon intensity

On Easter Monday, the UK recorded its lowest level of carbon intensity for electricity use, the National Grid ESO has confirmed.

Tesco revealed that it has reduced its emissions by 50% compared to 2015 levels, far outpacing its science-based targets to deliver a 35% reduction

Tesco unveils climate manifesto to assist net-zero target

Tesco has unveiled a new "climate manifesto", pledging to help customers eat more sustainable diets, reducing food waste from farm to fork, and ramping up its efforts to become a net-zero business by 2035.

The scale and level of the changes announced for the green economy is likely to be underwhelming for many

Tax Day: Treasury will review controversial proposals for aviation duties

The Treasury has provided more than 30 updates to tax rules in the UK, but has stopped short of providing VAT breaks for energy-efficient and resource-efficient materials and business models that many had hoped for.

The likes of Pernod Ricard and Nestle have already enshrined biodiversity into their sustainability strategies

Cutting through complexity: Can biodiversity be embedded into corporate strategies?

In recent months, the importance of biodiversity in combatting the climate crisis has reached a new level understanding, with policymakers and academics peering into this complex topic to try and outline how the private sector can champion it. Here, edie hears from the businesses that have already enshrined regenerative practices into their business model.

Money needs to be re-aligned in order to stimulate this demand

IRENA: Existing solutions can spur progress to net-zero

Global power sourced from renewables is set to treble by 2050, with wind, solar and hydrogen all required to account for 90% of all decarbonisation solutions to push the global economy towards the 1.5C pathway, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the proposed solar farm. Image: Nissan Motor Corporation Great Britain 

Nissan to install on-site solar farm at Sunderland plant

Nissan has unveiled plans to build a new solar farm at its Sunderland Plant - the facility at the heart of its Leaf electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing process.

Sunak will be hosting a press conference after the Budget speech on Wednesday. Image: HM Treasury 

Budget 2021: Businesses and charities make last-minute calls for green funding to Rishi Sunak

With the 2021 Budget being announced on Wednesday (3 March), Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing mounting pressure over the Green Homes Grant, National Nature Service and other green policy decisions.

In 2016, the firm agreed to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity, a target that has been met

Etsy commits to net-zero emissions by 2030

Online retailer Etsy has pledged to "deepening its commitment to a sustainable future" by setting science-based targets and pledging to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

Mission Possible: Achieving a green recovery for the public sector

edie's Mission Possible campaign has evolved to focus on the green recovery, with a new series of reports outlining the challenges that businesses in key sectors face in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, and the opportunities that the green recovery will bring. Up next, the public sector.

Carlsberg's recycled bottles and Lidl's EV chargers: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

Aluminium is a key material for sectors including electric vehicles, but is regarded as high-impact and hard-to-abate in terms of environmental impact

Solar power and blockchain: BMW and Rio Tinto make major moves on sustainable aluminium

BMW has announced plans to begin sourcing aluminium produced using solar-powered manufacturing, in the same week that Rio Tinto launched a new blockchain-based sustainability standard for the material.

Pictured: Solar panels on an Ikea store in Sydney, Australia 

Ikea surpasses renewable energy generation milestone after installing 920,000 solar panels

Ikea's parent company Ingka Group generated more renewable energy that it consumed last year, marking a milestone on its vision to become a "planet-positive" business.

One scenario suggests more than 3,000% growth in electric vehicles and a 2,500% rise in domestic heat pumps by 2030

Electric vehicles and heat pumps set for exponential growth on road to net-zero

More than 4.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) could be on UK roads, almost 250,000 households could feature solar technology and between 450,000 to more than one million domestic electric heat pumps could be installed by 2030 in order to reach net-zero, new research has found.

The webinar features speakers from Costain Group, Ibstock Brick, the Natural History Museum and Carbon Clean

Now available on demand: edie's free webinar exploring onsite net-zero technologies

edie's latest webinar is now available to watch on-demand. Tune in to hear experts providing best-practice advice on investing in and integrating net-zero technologies to help assist with decarbonisation targets.

In action: the world's first fully commercial carbon capture and utilisation plant

Carbon Clean – in partnership with Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (TFL) – has been operating the world’s first low-cost, industrial-scale carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) plant in India since October 2016. Take a look inside the project with this new download.

Six top tips for accelerating your electric fleet transition

This report showcases the output of edie's SPARK! event, where expert energy professionals from a range of sectors shared experiences integrating electric vehicles (EV) into their organisations' fleets.

The reshuffle will enable Sharma to focus on the COP26 climate summit full-time. Image: Gov UK

Kwasi Kwarteng steps up to BEIS Secretary post as Alok Sharma takes on full-time COP Presidency

The Government has confirmed that Alok Sharma will step down from his position as Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to enable more focus on his role as COP26 President, with Kwasi Kwarteng named as his replacement.

Oliver joined M&S full-time in 2017, having previously undertaken contracted work for the retailer

Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Oliver Knowles, M&S Property

This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Up next: M&S Property's R&D manager, Oliver Knowles.

Under some scenarios being explored by the Government, solar PV capacity could reach between 80-120GW of capacity

Government ponders 120GW of solar to help reach net-zero

On the same day that the Energy White Paper was unveiled, the Government also launched a new consultation on how financing and deployment of renewable technologies can accelerate action towards net-zero, with up to 120GW of solar capacity mooted as a means to quadruple green energy nationally.

Pictured: The rooftop solar array at Amazon's Tilbury fulfillment centre

Amazon reveals plans for 26 new large-scale renewable energy projects

Amazon has confirmed a major renewable energy investment project that will see it finance the construction of 26 new wind and solar projects totalling 3.4GW of generation capacity.

McDonald's has been one of the largest corporate renewable energy purchasers in the US since 2008

McDonald's to finance three major new renewable energy projects in the US

McDonald's has completed new virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) for two major wind farms and a large portfolio of solar projects across three US states.

The report warns that failure to support the already struggling sector could result in the UK becoming a buyer, rather than supplier, of green energy and technology

North Sea energy sector requires 'urgent investment' to reach net-zero

Investment into net-zero technologies such as floating offshore wind and clean hydrogen could capture up to £125bn in annual benefits from the North Sea energy sector, but a new report has warned that jobs in the area could fall by at least 20% without incentivising policies.

Skanska's EV policy and the UK's largest community solar park: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

When fully operational, the windfarm will provide enough clean electricity to power more than 4.5 million UK homes and it is expected to trigger capital investments of around £9bn in total

World's largest offshore windfarm reaches £6bn financial close

Financial close has been confirmed on two phases of the world's largest offshore windfarm, Dogger Bank, with capital expenditure reaching around £6bn, which is the largest offshore wind project financing globally.

The latest draft text, obtained by EURACTIV, “significantly weakens the priority given to renewable hydrogen,”

Renewable or 'low-carbon'? EU countries face off over hydrogen

EU member states are fighting over which type of hydrogen to support, with two opposing camps facing off: those backing green hydrogen produced exclusively from renewable electricity, and those in favour of a broader "low-carbon" definition, which also includes nuclear power and decarbonised gases.