Building a Renewable Future

Renewable energy is gathering momentum, yet getting a foothold in this emerging sector can be tricky. Finding a manufacturing partner with the right skills and experience can offer a vital head start

Something remarkable happened to Britain’s national power grid this summer. On 11 June a record 70 per cent of all electricity generated for the UK’s homes and businesses came from low-carbon sources, such as solar, wind and tide.

That day was a glimpse into the future. The UK needs affordable, clean energy and as our reliance on carbon-heavy forms of power wanes, renewables will form the backbone of our national grid. Currently, renewables produce just over 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity supply, but by the end of the decade, that figure is expected to rise to 30 per cent.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, given these figures, the UK led Europe for solar development last year, with a growth rate of 29 per cent, beating Germany’s 21 per cent growth and France’s eight per cent. Branching out to renewable electricity generation, the UK continues to expand at a year-on-year rate of close to 25 per cent.

Wide-ranging skills

This growth presents both original equipment manufacturers and contract electronics manufacturers with a chance to position themselves as an industry-leader in a valuable market. Getting a foothold in this emerging sector is, however, easier said than done. OEMs looking to outsource require a specific skillset from any potential manufacturing partner, as well as relevant experience and expertise. Products destined for use in renewable energy projects are varied and can range from a relatively simple meter through to complex, multi-layered power regulators.

Consequently, OEMs will need assurances that a CEM can offer advanced technical support, providing both design and manufacturing advice when necessary. Prototyping and frequent product reviews will also be needed to ensure that the designs will not just be as economical and efficient as possible, they’ll also be able to stand up to whatever Mother Nature can throw at them.

Renewable expertise

As the use of renewable energy has increased, DJ Assembly has seen its involvement grow proportionally. Requests for quotations have increased, as too have the number of companies looking to manufacture and release new products.

Projects that the York-based CEM has recently worked on include the redesign of a portable power convertor that has been used in energy systems, the production of controls for wind-powered turbines and prototyping a gas/ electric boiler for hospitals.

DJ Assembly’s sales director, Tony Hunt, said: “Alternative energy systems represent some of the most important and exciting electronic design innovations in the UK right now. DJ Assembly is at the forefront of this development, building a reputation for innovation, flexibility and technical knowhow in the fields of solar, wind energy and in the manufacture of power conversion technology. Anyone contemplating entering these areas should speak to one of our technical sales advisors to see where DJ Assembly can help.”

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