Lightsource Renewable Energy is planning on building a nationwide network of PV installers by partnering with local solar companies as part of its push to expand its rooftop portfolio.
The company is the largest generator of solar energy in the UK with over 600MWp of operating capacity, most of which is ground-mounted. Following policy shifts and clear political will to move away from ground-mount deployment, Lightsource formed a new commercial rooftop division earlier this year.
The move followed Lightsource’s acquisition of assets from Renewable Resources, which claimed to have developed the largest portfolio of commercial rooftops in the UK.
Lightsource is now targeting long-term partnerships with with local PV installers. The company claims that partners will benefit from the company’s expertise, supply chain and funding.
“We have often been approached by local installers asking how they can work with us, but we have always been restricted to partnering with large EPC contractors due to the size and scale of our projects in the past,” explained Nick Boyle, Lightsource’s CEO. “We have listened to the installer community and worked hard to source funding and the other elements to make our plans for high volume deployment in the rooftop market a reality,” added Boyle.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Adam Oliver, the company’s new business director explained what qualities Lightsource is looking for in its partners. He said: “Local partners will be expected to work to Lightsource standards of quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. We will look for installers who can demonstrate a track record, strong project management skills and no compromise on quality.
“The proposition is two way: we will fund installers to deliver projects that they identify, and we will also allocate to installers projects that we will originate at Lightsource. We are particularly interested in installers who can deliver volume business for us (whether commercial or residential).”
Explaining the benefits of partnering with the company, Boyle said: “We want the benefits for installers to be clear: we intend to fund a significant roll-out of projects and will work in partnership, giving them access to Lightsource suppliers and products while adhering to our strong quality and standards. This builds on the successes of our large-scale portfolio and at the same time supports local businesses and the economy.”
Oliver noted that the company’s rooftop offer has been tailored to “address the issues that have held back deployment in the past”. As for the government’s ambition to put ‘rocket boosters’ under the sector, Oliver remains optimistic. He said: “The government’s signals have been very clear and have been a key driver for Lightsource to adopt this strategy and these products. We hope that all the relevant government initiatives proceed and that the planning reforms will complete quickly, that DNOs are as helpful as possible with connections, and that the proposed rooftop tariff changes are adopted for the long term.”
Boyle added: “We believe we have found a way to unlock the huge potential of rooftop solar across the UK market and are committed to sharing this opportunity with quality local installers. Our unrivalled track record speaks for itself, and we look forward to many new partnerships that will drive the next wave of solar PV deployment in the UK.”
Lightsource is clear that the company’s rooftop push will not come at the expense of its ground-mount portfolio. Oliver said: “Ground-mount is our key strength and we will pursue it as actively as ever. The rooftop initiative builds on some other existing strengths and experience at Lightsource and is additional. Looking forward, we see reasonable certainty in the regulatory support for ground-mount and roof-top and intend to make the most of both.”
Lightsource will provide further insight and details of this partnership at Solar Energy UK conference in Birmingham,15 October.