Westech Solar

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Westech Solar's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Westech Solar is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director Jenny Chen
Delta Black Module
Westech Solar are the UK and EU representative of Perlight
Solar, a manufacturer of solar cells and panels, which is
part of the Baolite Group, headquartered in Zhejiang,
China. They provide sales, logistical and after-sales support, as
well as a direct link to the factory production line and technical
departments. They are committed to ensuring their products are
both effective and able to blend into the buildings onto which
they are installed. Managing Director Jenny Chen discusses their
products and the effects of the solar subsidy programme coming
to an end.
We are passionate about the progression of renewable technologies, providing
high-quality, intelligent products that offer excellent value. We work to offer a
secure, reliable and affordable source of solar energy products.
We service customers of all sizes, simplifying the procurement process and after-sales
requirements. In turn, we can tailor products to suit the specific needs of different
customers. Perlight are part of the family-owned Baolite Group, headquartered in
Zhejiang, China, with over 30 years of experience in manufacturing, business finance
and international trade. Most manufacturing processes are almost fully automated,
but, despite this, Perlight hold the development of their workforce as a high
priority, with 500 skilled employees and 50 specialised research and development
staff working to maintain the highest standards and develop new innovations
in a facility certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18001 and SA 8000. This
includes the establishment of a specialist research facility solely dedicated to solar
cell development. We believe that quality materials, craftsmanship and service are
always key to durable products with genuine value andreliability.
»Managing Director: Jenny Chen
»Established 2010
»Based in Oxford
»Services: Solar panel
manufacturing and supply
»No. of employees: 5
»Westech supply over
28megawatts of solar panels
annually to the UK, primarily for
residential and commercial use
Westech Solar
Highlighting best practice
Aesthetics of integration
When we began to supply our solar
modules to the UK in 2010, we soon
identified two of the largest obstacles
to the adoption of solar: aesthetics
and cost. Our black solar panels were
very popular, but they were still very
recognisable. Our vision was to have
solar panels that could be installed in
full view, without becoming the focal
point of a building. Our aim was to
integrate them seamlessly like any other
building material without damaging
the existing aesthetic or becoming an
extravagance due to high costs. We set
about finding a solution. After almost
two years of research and development,
we launched the Delta Black module in
2012 specifically for the UK market: a
completely black panel with no visible
components, which was compatible
with both the commonly used on-roof
installation and the newly developing
roof-integrated systems. This was a
tremendous success, and the Delta
product continues to be our premium
solar module type to this day.
We believe in continually developing our
products aesthetically while maintaining
affordability and return on investment
for customers and think that this is the
logical direction for successful solar
deployment in the built environment.
Similar products we develop include
our solar roof tile, which creates an
entirely solar roof, made exclusively
for our close partner and premier UK
installer Project Better Energy. We’ve
also developed triangular- and bespoke-
shaped modules that allow full coverage
of common hip and cross-gabled UK
roofs. This type of full roof coverage
wouldn’t be possible without advances
in technology, specifically related to
how solar arrays cope with shading, but
our smart panel has solved theseissues.
Smart technology, new
In 2017, we partnered with Silicon
Valley’s Tigo Energy. We use Tigo’s
highly advanced and multi-functional
junction box instead of the conventional
version on each of our panels. This
enables customers to choose from
a range of additional functions,
depending on the needs and budgets
of their projects. Customers can choose
to take advantage of all functions or
just the specific functions they need.
Conventional solar arrays are designed
to avoid shade at all costs. This is
because when conventional panels are
connected to one another, if one panel
becomes shaded, it loses performance
and affects the other panels connected
Smart Panels with Real-
Time Performance Data
Our aim was to
integrate them
seamlessly like
any other
building material
damaging the
existing aesthetic
or becoming an
due to high
to it by dragging them down to the
same level of performance. This results
in a decrease in effectiveness from
every panel and, ultimately, a significant
loss of return on investment. A special
function called “optimisation” allows
panels to be installed in places that
once would not have been viable.
Shaded panels still produce less energy,
but they do not affect other panels
when optimisation is used.
Smart panels are revolutionising solar
for end users, engineers and operators
by providing real-time panel-level
monitoring, diagnostics and even
predictive maintenance. Performance
data is instantly available via a mobile
phone or PC, which would have taken
hours or even days to collect on a
conventional array by a skilled engineer.
Advanced safety built into the junction
box disconnects the electrical output
at junction box level in the event of
an emergency on site, such as a fire,
meaning there are no live cables to
pose risks to firefighters and others.
Another installation partner, KH
Engineering Services, recently
completed an 800kilowatt installation
for Southeastern railways, utilising
panel-level monitoring and safety
functions, which were prerequisites
for the project. The unshaded arrays
didn’t require optimisation, which
meant a significant cost saving for
the client. If site conditions were to
change over the next 25 years, such as
new building developments or nearby
tree growth that were to shade the
array, optimisation could be added
to individual panels by changing
the junction box cover. In addition,
individual panels could be optimised
without the need to optimise every
other panel. This is a unique advantage
to our system that offers significant
cost benefits, particularly on large solar
arrays, but, as always, our fully scalable
system gives the same benefits to all
users, no matter the size of the array.
The main challenge we face is the
termination of the solar subsidy
programme. This subsidy has been
essential for driving the sector forward
and the fact that it will end in April,
without being replaced, will certainly
affect our industry. Many of the
businesses we work with rely on these
subsidies to make sales, so switching
their pitches and designs will be a
challenging process.
We are bringing these new functions
to the mainstream by standardising
them in every product and giving the
customer choice. Our panels can also be
upgraded at any time and at low costs.
We believe that adaptable, intelligent
renewable technologies are the next
step on the path to a truly sustainable
environment, in which we are proud to
take part.
We are bringing
these functions
to the
mainstream by
them in every
product and
giving the
customer choice
Gillingham Maintenance
Depot Smart PV System


This article was sponsored by Westech Solar. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster