“Solar Thermal has had varying successes but still suffers from a lack of public awareness”

An Interview with Grant Feasey,

 

 

 

Which company are you working for, what is your role/profession, main expertise of your company?

I work for AES Solar as Senior Design  Engineer. I am a Chartered Mechanical  Engineer with the UK Engineer Council  and registered European Engineer with  FEANI. I have 7 years experience in the solar industry, working on activities including solar collector design to installation project management of solar thermal, solar PV and battery storage systems from design, supply and installation of various sizes and types of system.

AES Solar are the oldest manufacturer of solar thermal collectors in Western Europe. We provide consultancy, design, supply, installation and maintenance of solar thermal and solar PV systems of all types and sizes within the UK and abroad. The company’s expertise includes solar thermal flat plate collector design and manufacture as well as the integration of solar energy systems with other technologies. Last but not least, the company participates in a number of domestic and international R&D projects.

What are your products and who are your products´ buyers?

AES manufacture Solar Thermal Collectors and supply Solar Thermal systems, Solar PV systems and complimentary products and systems. More recently the company have added energy storage to compliment solar PV and Solar Charging stations to our capabilities. Based in Forres in the North of Scotland and with an office in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh – AES’ primary market is within the UK serving residential, commercial and construction sectors. We also have customers in Europe and export around the world to various locations such as Nigeria, New Zealand, Seychelles, Afghanistan and Antarctica.

Senior Design Engineer Grant Feasey at the AES Solar Factory – Forres, UK

What challenges are you currently facing in terms of “energy-efficient” technology?

Solar Thermal has had varying successes  in different countries but still suffers from a lack of public awareness and belief in its capabilities and potential applications in many regions. It also lacks the financial support that other technologies have had to help the industry develop the performance to cost ratio of the technology.

Solar PV has been more successful in AES home markets but still suffers poor public perception in some area’s. A tendency for specifiers – especially in the large scale construction industry – to choose lowest cost options is harmful to the average quality and performance of installed systems. This impacts the reputation of the technology and is a barrier to more advanced technology being developed and gaining a presence in the wider market.

What is your motivation for participating in Heat4Cool project and what challenges are you planning to overcome with your (Heat4Cool) products?

AES aim to demonstrate the successful application of Solar Thermal and Solar PV in new and innovative ways alongside newer technologies such as adsorption heat pumps and Sunamp Heat batteries. AES see that the development of specification tools and SCI-BEMS software such as those in HEAT4COOL are important to encourage the uptake and effective operation of well designed energy efficient systems that include a combination of technologies.  It is important for solar thermal and Solar PV to be part of the development of that.

Dissemination activities of the project should help to educate the public on the range of applications and the effectiveness of solar technologies.

As a company we hope to gain knowledge and experience of our partners technologies and exchange knowledge, practices and opportunities with partners operating in similar fields in other markets. We also hope further opportunities of technology development might be identified through the work being carried out on HEAT4COOL.

Public Swimming Pool Solar Heating System – Forres, UK – 79.2m² Gross Area AES Endurance collector System providing 24,800 kWh/yr – Designed and Installed by AES Solar for Moray council (local authority)