In 2013, Greg Barker, the then Minister State for Energy and Climate Change officially opened the BRE National Solar Centre, the UK solar industry was flourishing with approximately 8,800 new PV systems being installed every month adding over 1.1GW of capacity within the year.
A lot has changed for solar over the last 5 years. The cost of the technology has reduced (a domestic system now costs 13% less and larger scale systems have seen significant cost savings), the financial incentives available have considerably decreased and are due to stop all together in March 2019, and solar has become an important part of the UK energy mix (representing over 5% of all generation and meeting up to 28% of the UK’s electricity demand). Solar is set to play a key role in a smart and flexible energy future.
Through these changes the NSC has provided support to the solar industry through the development of good practice guidance underpinned by research and our involvement with standard bodies and professional associations. Key projects include;
- 3 year research project into PV related fires for BEIS
- Low Carbon Network Fund Solar Storage project, identifying economically viable incentives for use of stored solar energy during periods of peak demand.
- Innovate UK funded project on solar performance mapping and operational yield forecasting of utility scale solar plants.
- Cornwall New Energy, a European Regional Development Funded project, developing a local energy economy in Cornwall.
In addition the NSC continue to provide robust and impartial technical advisory services to a wide range of clients at all stages of their solar journey, specialising in; quality assurance (reducing risk), due diligence (independent verification), expert witness services (under performance or other contractual issues) and supporting new innovative products to market (development, testing and demonstration).
The NSC has also developed a short training course on installing solar PV on buildings.