Solar power in the United Kingdom

Solar power in the United Kingdom

Until July 2008, solar power in the United Kingdom (photovoltaic electricity generation) was relatively commercially unattractive due to the moderate level of insolation, cheap grid electricity (compared to other European countries), and low financial incentives from government. In particular, net metering was not readily available, due to disagreement on what to do with the VAT.

In 2006, the United Kingdom had installed 12.5 MWp of photovoltaic capacity [ Eurobserv'er'] ] represented just 0.3% of the European total of 3.4GWp. By way of comparison, due to their plans to phase out nuclear power there is a growing capacity in Germany (due to a Feed-in Tariff program), where 3.0 GWp had been installed by the end of 2006 (90% of all European capacity). In contrast, solar thermal capacity to supply hot water was expected to grow to 25 MWth in 2006. [ [ ESTIF] ]

Due to an EU agreement to generate 15% of electricity from renewables by 2020, in June, 2008 a new program to encourage homeowners to generate their own electricity was announced, which will include a feed-in tariff.

PV commercialisation

The Energy Saving Trust that administers government grants for domestic photovoltaic systems, the Low Carbon Building Programme, estimates that an installation for an average-sized house would cost between £5,000- £8,000 per kWp installed, with most domestic systems usually between 1.5 and 3 kWp, and yield annual savings between £150 and £200. [ [ Solar Electricity] , Energy Saving Trust]

In August 2006 there was widespread news coverage in the United Kingdom of the major high street electrical retailers (Currys) decision to stock PV modules, manufactured by Sharp, at a cost of £1,000 per module. The retailer also provides an installation service.

PV manufacture

* The world's largest PV manufacturer, Sharp Solar, has a site in Llay near Wrexham. [ [ Sharp Solar celebrates five years as world number one] ]
* G42i is building (2007) the world's first commercial scale dye sensitized TiO2 module plant.
* Solar Century offers BIPV modules to fit with standard UK concrete tiles.

Green Energy for Schools

The Green Energy for Schools program will be providing 100 schools across the UK with solar panels. The first school in Wales was the Tavernspite School, near Whitland, which has received panels worth £20,000, sufficient to produce 3,000kWh of electricity each year. [ [ Free solar power first for school] ]

Feed in tariff

Discussion on implementation of a feed-in tariff program concluded on September 26, 2008, and the results will be published in the spring of 2009. [ [ UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation] ] One story used the language "They will be able to sell back surplus electricity at premium prices to the national grid.", [ [ Home-made energy to prop up grid] ] which is not a feed-in tariff, it is simply a means of reconciling any surplus from a net metering program. The key word is "surplus", not the word "sell". Net metering only requires the existing home electric meter, while a feed in tariff requires installation of a separate meter to measure generation. Australia has been criticized for implementing a similar program, paying 0.60 AUD (about ₤0.28) for each kWh over what is used each month, with Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham calling it a "fake feed-in tariff". [ [ Solar feed-in tariff meets with mixed reviews] ]

ee also

*Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
*Energy policy of the United Kingdom
*Green electricity in the United Kingdom
*Renewable energy in the European Union


External links

* [ UK Solar Photovoltaic Experts]

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