A new solar research hub has been launched in the UK which is believed could help boost renewable energy generation in the country.
The Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) National Solar Centre is aimed to provide support for UK solar industries in a worldwide market, support the development of future standards to increase quality PV installations, test new opportunities and train staff. It is also expected to drive innovation and increase confidence in the market.
BRE claims it will help the Government and the industry deliver on the solar opportunities set out in DECC’s recent 2012 Renewables Roadmap Update, with the UK’s capacity to grow from its current 1.4GW to a potential 20GW by 2020.
Speaking at the launch, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Solar is an exciting and rapidly growing clean, green source of power and has a valuable part to play in the UK’s energy mix. The new Cornwall based National Solar Centre will help drive down costs, improve efficiency, catalyse growth, spur innovation and develop expertise on the ground. We have seen dramatic reductions in costs of the technology over the past year and that’s why we have made changes to our incentives under Feed-in-Tariffs and the Renewables Obligation, to help put this industry on a more sustainable footing and ensure solar continues to thrive in the future.”
BRE Director Nick Tune, who developed the idea for the Centre said they would also look at issues around smart grids, storage and power output prediction, which could help improve long term performance of the technology.
BRE said the St Austell location was chosen because the majority of the UK’s solar installations are focused in South West England, with a total of 55,777 installations in the region. The Centre is expected to open in April this year.