Solar Energy Centre of Excellence Opened in UK

The BRE National Solar Centre has been opened at St Austell in England to support the UK solar industry to become a significant contributor in the energy marketplace. The BRE National Solar Centre will become the centre for excellence and knowledge in the use of solar energy in the UK.

Working with local partners, including the Eden Project, Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust, Plymouth University, and Exeter University’s Tremough campus, the Centre will provide a research based, independent platform where stakeholders can share experience, data and developments for the benefit of the whole UK solar sector. Outputs will focus on performance, quality, innovation and standards.

UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker says: “Not only will work carried out by the Centre help to cut costs, improve efficiency and drive forward innovation in this sector, it will also help position the UK as a top destination for global investment in this exciting technology. The Coalition Government has finally put solar firmly on the map.  Solar has a key part to play in our energy mix, and later this year we will be launching the UK’s first-ever Government solar strategy, to capitalise on growth so far and explore ways to take it even further.”

The BRE National Solar Centre has received significant funding from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund (£870,000 over two years), and support from Cornwall Council. Over 20 Founding Members, drawn from the leading players in UK solar today, have input over £100,000 of match funding.

The BRE National Solar Centre has been set up in St Austell, Cornwall, as the South West is the area of the UK where the majority of solar installations are located, with Cornwall having the greatest number of hours of sunshine on the UK mainland. External testing facilities for panels will be created, and it is expected that companies from related industry sectors will co-locate at the Centre’s site, creating an industry hub.

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