Solar Capture event Blyth February 2024

CPRE Northumberland and N&N Society visit to Solar Capture Technologies, Brunel House, Blyth.

Tuesday 27th February 2024

Solar Capture event Blyth February 2024

The CPRE Northumberland visit, which was open to Northumberland and Newcastle Society members, took place on Tuesday 27th February at 3pm and was attended by a capacity group of 20 members from both organisations.

Lewis Casely welcomed us and provided a detailed and informative presentation as well as a tour of the facility.
The company has been operating for a number of years with contacts across Europe such as a well-known German car company but was hit badly by the lockdown in 2020.

It almost had to reinvent itself but was able to build on its high reputation and determination to source as many of its materials and workforce locally.

It is now the largest solar manufacturing company in the UK. Its mini panels can be seen on our roadsides powering a range of electrical safety and way signs, they also produce solar products for use offshore as well as on the roofs of emergency vehicles and numerous bespoke contracts such as by the charity rowing challenge across the Atlantic!

The company was also responsible for the production of different versions of a solar-powered vehicle.

The company works closely with local authorities, building developers, large companies such as Tesco, and many others to explore ways in which their solar cells can be used.

One of their major products is roof tiles for use on domestic and commercial premises.

These tiles are an improvement on solar panels in that they do not experience a number of the negative issues of panels such as birds nesting and causing problems
beneath the panel.

The tiles are used instead of traditional roof tiles and are fixed onto batons across the roof in a similar way as tiles, they interlock along the top and attach to each other along the side, with the actual solar elements set onto a composite surface.

This element of the tile, minus the solar strips, can be cut and shaped around chimneys and roof edging.

With a waterproof membrane along the top edge, they form a waterproof surface. The surface can be matt to reduce glare; the anti-reflective glass is self-cleaning and reflects sunlight into the panel. The solar strips connect to a distribution panel within the property. They can be retro-fitted on an existing roof or fitted on a new-build property.

Extensive research has produced a product with a high fire safety rating which is long lasting; each panel is expected to last for 25 years, still operating at 75% efficiency, producing around 200 watts per panel.

Their final construction and weight has been determined after trials and cooperation with contractors and users.

Early tiles were lighter in weight, for example, until contractors fed back the need for a heavier tile which resulted in one which is stronger and more durable.

Trials are underway across Northumberland at present with a trial house in Seahouses and two more soon to be in Shilbottle and Newbiggin.

This is as a result of close working with Northumberland County Council.

It is expected that these houses will be able to produce 9Kw of energy.

Lewis explained that the hybrid convertor would allow the property owner to determine whether the energy was to be used solely within the property or, if more had been generated than was required, it could be fed back into the grid. Also, that a localised battery storage system was feasible and something that could be explored in the

Lewis also suggested that in the future, he would expect old car batteries would have a role to play within the home set-up and that their solar cells would be able to be re-cycled even though the technology isn’t available at present. There were so many other questions many of us wanted to ask but time didn’t allow for anymore.

There was only time for a big ‘thank you’ to Lewis and the Company for an excellent visit and hope that we may be able to come again sometime.

Alison Gajdus, CPRE Northumberland

[Image © CPRE Northumberland]

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