A new solar photovoltaic centre in Cornwall aims to help deliver a massive increase in the UK’s renewable energy capacity.
The BRE National Solar Centre in Cornwall will offer a range of services to drive innovation, cost reduction and increased confidence in the use of photovoltaics (PV). A particular focus will be the construction industry which needs to improve its understanding of how to integrate PV products better with buildings.
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, which will be based in St Austell, is being built with funding from the EU and support from Cornwall Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It will provide:
- Analysis, data collection and publications to create a full and authoritative knowledge base for the industry.
- An observatory for best practice, both in the UK and internationally.
- 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.
- Product development for building-integrated PV and other integrated approaches.
- Direct support for Cornish small and medium enterprises.
- Encouragement for inward investment to create a cluster of solar PV companies on the site.
DECC’s recently published Renewables Roadmap Update outlined how the UK’s solar photovoltaic capacity is being steered for growth from its current 1.4GW base up to a potential 20GW by 2020. The BRE National Solar Centre will open in April 2013.