National Solar Energy Centre Launched in UK, Will Promote Building Integrated Solar PV

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The BRE National Energy Centre (NSC) for solar PV has been recently launched in United Kingdom to deliver the government’s goal of 20 GW of installed solar capacity by 2020. The BRE National Solar Energy Centre is expected to be commissioned in April this year, situated in St Austell, Cornwall, and aims to strengthen innovation, cost reduction, and confidence in the renewable energy market place.

Solar panels via Waynenf (some rights reserved)

Over the last three months, BRE has been working to develop the National Energy Centre in Cornwall. BRE is confident of helping the Government and the industry deliver on the solar energy targets set out in DECC’s recent 2012 Renewables Roadmap Update. The UK aims to increase its current installed solar power capacity of 1.4GW to 20GW by 2020.

The centre will get funding from the EU and support from Cornwall Council and the DECC. The centre aims to collaborate with organisations outside the sector to help them gain an understanding of PV technology and to maximise its potential, particularly in the construction industry, which currently has very limited knowledge of integrating PV into building projects.

BRE Director Nick Tune, who developed the idea for the Centre said:

We have a real opportunity here to drive the uptake of solar PV. The sector has seen a dramatic reduction in installed costs by up to 50% from 2010-2012. The Centre will help the sector deliver further reductions so solar PV can become competitive with other low-carbon electricity sources.

There are significant opportunities to support the development of Building Integrated PV products and the interaction of PV with commercial buildings.  We will also look at issues around smart grids, storage, power output prediction and more – all critical factors for improving the long term performance of the technology and creating confidence in its future.

The centre aims to provide the following:

    • Analysis, data collection, and publications to create a full and authoritative knowledge base for the industry.
    • An observatory for examining the best practices, both in the UK and internationally.
    • Provide support for the development of future standards to increase quality of PV installations.
    • Support for UK solar industries in a worldwide market.
    • Due diligence consultancy and testing for new build installations.
    • Fault finding, verification, and optimisation for existing systems.
    • Provide training for complicated system design, electricity market operators, and local authorities.
    • Product development for building-integrated PV and other integrated approaches.
    • Direct support for Cornish small and medium enterprises.
    • Encouragement for inward investment clustering of solar PV companies on the site shared with NSC.

There is a need for the development of building integrated solar PV systems and BRE can play a major role in its development. Also, more and more solar parks are coming up in UK, and there is a need to provide technical services and new standards for their development. BRE can help to drive these opportunities in a much better way compared to other solar companies.

The city of Cornwall has been chosen for the establishment of NSC because of its strategic importance to the solar PV industry with the advantage of having the highest level of solar radiation in the UK and one of the highest percentages of solar systems per capita in the region.

The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

Mridul Chadha has 425 posts and counting. See all posts by Mridul Chadha