We ran a piece yesterday on Solar Power Portal, Revealed – the leading project developers of UK solar farms, showing the relative rankings of the top 120 project developers in the UK, out of a total of just over 180 the details of which can be found in the newly released go-to client database from Solar Media.
The response to the article yesterday was incredible, with many simply wanting to know: “Where does my company rank?” Or: “Why could you not have used my company as one of the placeholder examples on the graph?” Here is the graphic that prompted so much interest and excitement.
Adapted from Solar Media’s newly-released Top-500 database report. The sample data entries do not represent all of the companies in the report and are illustrative markers only i.e. there are several companies between Lightsource and Solarcentury.
With the UK solar industry just over five years old, one may be excused to ask the question back: “Don’t you know by now exactly where you rank or what your competitors are doing?”
Well, the reason for so much interest is that nobody has ever had enough high quality data to actually do this type of graphic – far less having a fully audited trail of all large-scale projects built in the UK. Most simply don’t know who the project developers were behind what has been built in the UK, or have the correct list of projects that have been built in the first place.
Often databases of UK solar projects are pulled together by generic non-solar industry parties that track anything released on government databases or council planning lists. The problem there is that they don’t have solar industry engagement or knowledge. So what you end up with is a piecemeal collection of SPV names, planners, agents and so on. Not the actual developer behind the site.
Indeed, just yesterday, an industry contact told me exactly this to the effect of: the database I get is almost non-useable, as there is virtually no way of knowing who to call and who is developing the site. Many of these so-called databases are also pulled together by firms that had been tracking the wind or construction industries in the past, and they often know very little about the solar industry in the first place. It is just not their forte.
Another problem with the solar industry – not just confined to the UK – is that you get people compiling databases of project activities for countries that they are not actually living in. By default, those databases of projects become remote internet studies, and the personnel in question are almost always completely unknown to the domestic sector. This has been shown with the solar market in China, Japan and India in recent years, where the only accepted wisdom resides in domestic located analysts and studies. The UK should be no different, and this is indeed the case.
So perhaps based on this summary it is not a great surprise that our new analysis garnered so much interest yesterday. After all, it was done by UK people based in the UK, working for a UK solar-specific media/events/marketing organisation (Solar Media), and on the back of having literally hundreds of discussions and meetings with the UK sector every week of the year going back more than five years.
However, back to the graphic that got so many people excited. The companies shown by name are simply examples pulled from the different tier groupings. To find the full list of companies within each tier group, you need to subscribe to our new report release, the Top-500 database report. Actually, this report will give you the top tier groupings across a wide range of ground-mount activities, not just project developers. Here is a summary of the number of companies listed, per category, and across the various tier groupings by category, with contact details for all of the 500 companies in the database:
Summary of company count for categories and tier groupings, contained within Solar Media’s newly-released Top-500 database report.
So if you decide to filter by Greenfield Project Developers (that was partly the basis behind the graphic yesterday), you would get something like this on your screen, with the full list going right down through 180 row entries.
Filtering the database to show Project Developers only, and sorting by tier grouping. Source: Top-500 database report. Company entries on this screenshot have been hidden except for a few examples.
The full details are available to everyone subscribing to the database. Top-level summaries will be featured often on Solar Power Portal, as a means of giving the background to our frequent industry trends and discussions articles and blogs.
We are in the middle of another major audit/survey check on solar farms that will see us release new Top-10 company listings by name through the Top-10 for most of the categories above. First to feature will be Top-10 EPCs and we are finishing off the audit check on that right now.
Getting feedback on the tables, and what they mean, is wonderful, and keeps the Solar Intelligence team fully connected with the latest UK developments. So keep the feedback coming please, and this will encourage more of the same going forward. And of course, it keeps our data and market statistics on the UK solar industry the best and most accurate out there, and that’s the main thing for all concerned right now, from tier 5 developer right up to DECC.