Over the course of this week Solar Power Portal will look back at some of the biggest news stories of 2018, starting with today’s re-cap of the first three months of the year.


Nissan drives into UK solar market with new home PV launch

Car manufacturer Nissan became the latest major company to enter the UK solar market, bringing out a new domestic offering that coupled solar panels with the xStorage domestic batteries it manufactures alongside Eaton.

Selling an entry-level six-panel (1.5kWp) rooftop solar system at prices around £3,800, Nissan entered the market with three specific configurations; Value’ is the company’s most competitively priced solution, while ‘Efficiency’ uses more efficient panels for an optimised output. A third offering, ‘Design’, uses building-integrated PV panels.

Francisco Carranza, managing director for Nissan Europe’s energy unit, described the new product launch as another step towards supporting its commitment to innovative energy solutions.


New documents shed light on Lark Energy trail of trade debt

New documents released at the turn of the year revealed that failed solar developer Lark Energy owed nearly £20 million to more than 200 separate trade creditors when it collapsed in mid-2017.

The firm collapsed in July blaming missed sub-contractor deadlines which resulted in significant losses on a number of major projects, and further documents revealed the extent of the issue.

Just £740,000 was expected to be realised from trade and other debtors, office equipment and remaining cash reserves, leaving millions of pounds left unpaid.


Business rates to be applied to energy storage in 2022 as government seeks help

In March, Solar Power Portal revealed that the Valuation Office Agency was investigating how to apply new business rates to revenues accrued by energy storage technologies.

The VOA was investigating two ways of applying business rates, one of which considered the use of a CapEx or contractors’ revaluation which took into account a range of initial project costs to form an annual equivalent of business rates which is then applied to revenues.

Alternatively, a second method would see a receipt summed expenditure model which would use income streams totalled against a project’s expenditure to determine a rateable value.

However the VOA said the calculation would be further complicated by not just fluctuating generation outputs from the storage battery element, but also the varying nature of the prices of any solar generation at co-located sites.

As a result, the VOA was imploring the solar sector to contribute to the agency’s analysis.