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23 July 2020

Viridian Solar and Marley’s roof-integrated solar

Viridian Solar and Marley, two British companies, have begun a collaboration to offer a roof-integrated solar system to Marley’s customers, based on Viridian’s Clearline Fusion product.

Marley is the only UK manufacturer that deals in every element of a roof system, having been in the tile industry for a century. It has recently added its Marley SolarTile to its range, with a 15-year warranty. Viridian CEO Stuart Elmes commented, “The Marley Full Roof System has proven to be very appealing to specifiers of major re-roofing projects such as local authorities and housing associations due to its extended warranty and single point of responsibility.” He went on to state that the collaboration was aimed at the Repair, Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) sector.

Since 2016, rooftop solar has been stagnant in the UK, with just 221 MW added in the sub-10 kW category in 2018 and 2019 combined. This was due to a shift in government policy which also stalled onshore wind and larger-scale solar, leaving offshore wind as the only source of significant growth for UK renewables.

Due to multiple favorable policy changes this year, a resurgence is now expected for onshore wind and solar of all sizes, along with the rise of battery storage for the first time. For example, Marley’s Sales Director Stuart Nicholson said, “With legislation changes expected to follow the Future Homes Standard consultation, both specification and household demand for PV solutions is expected to increase.”

The initial Future Homes Standard consultation is a government document concerning energy efficiency requirements for new houses. It will be fully implemented from 2025, but will begin having an impact on building regulations later this year with revisions to parts L and F of the Building Regulations in England and Wales.

The preliminary consultation was released in October 2019, and the second edition will be released this year. The 2019 document proposed two options addressing heating and insulation: of those, the preferred, more ambitious one also featured mandatory rooftop solar, and an overall 31% emissions reduction. Depending on how the regulations turn out in the end, solar panels could be used as an offset for less stringent insulation.

Another important regulatory change is that as of the start of this year, new domestic solar installations are able to sell their output to suppliers. Older installations were able to receive payments under a different scheme scrapped in April 2019.

Viridian Solar was founded in 2007, and its research into the durability and other attributes of rooftop solar contributed to the UK’s national standards. Its Clearline Fusion integrated roofing system was launched in 2015, and is more or less cost-competitive with above-roof PV installations. The company designs and manufactures its roof-integrated panels, and has recently expanded into continental Europe and the USA.

Viridian may compete directly with Tesla’s solar roof system in the USA: Tesla launched its V3 Solar Roof in October last year. In the UK, mercurial Tesla has yet to actually release the product, which has been available for pre-order since May 2017. Tesla applied for a license to generate electricity in the UK this May for reasons as yet unspecified.