Renew On Line (UK) 56

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 156 July-Aug 2005

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1.   Breaking News

2. Wind moves ahead...despite everything

3. Wave and tidal power

4. Solar Power ups and downs

5. Carbon storage ‘within a decade’

6. UK Funding for Sustainable energy

7. UK Policy Developments

8. Around the World - China, Germany, USA

9. World Developments- after Kyoto

10. Nuclear News- UK, China, France

4. Solar Power

The Government’s £31m solar photovoltaic demonstration programme, at one time projected to run to 2012, is to end in March 2006. Jonathan Bates, a director of the British Photovoltaics Association, said: “The UK PV industry has invested millions of pounds in response to its commitment. This money will have been wasted.” He told the Independent “Many of our members will find it hard to continue trading should the Government abandon the industry as it did the nascent UK wind industry 20 years ago.” Paul Molyneux, Sharp UK’s managing director, said: “The current uncertainty over the fate of the 2002-12 programme is stifling investment”.

However the government denied that support was being wound down saying that they were planning a “technology-blind” low carbon capital grants building programme which would support a range of schemes, including solar PV, under one umbrella. As noted in Renew 153, the DTI allocated £8.5m to allow the Major PV Demonstration Programme (MDP) and Clear Skies small scale renewables programmes to continue until March 2006, by which time, the DTI said, ‘it is intended that a low carbon buildings programme will have been developed in order to supersede these two initiatives.’ But the new  renewables programme, which as yet has no budget announced, being ‘technology neutral’, may not provide as much for PV, which is after all still very expensive. 

Then Energy Minister Mike O’Brien: commented in response to a parliamentary question on March 1st, ‘The final call for proposals for the Major PV Demonstration programme will take place at the end of 2005. Grants are expected to be paid up to March 2007. The Department plans to continue its support for PV and other building scale renewables through a low carbon building programme. The low carbon building programme is currently under development and there will be formal consultation on this later this year. The programme is expected to begin operating in financial year 2006–07.’

Meanwhile the progamme continues e.g., 64 run down bedsits in the Primrose Hill area of Huddersfield are being demolished to make way for a £7.5m solar “village” with 79 energy efficient homes, fitted with PV. And in May £1.35m was  allocated for 14 more PV projects around the UK.

PV solar ‘too costly’

Responding to a Parliamentary Question on 23 March on solar PV and the latest Part L Building Regulations, Phil Hope replied: ‘The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has determined that solar photovoltaic generating systems are not yet cost-effective. They were not, therefore, specifically mentioned in the Part L consultation document last year as being appropriate to the achievement of reasonable provision in compliance with the Building Regulations. The Part L proposals include setting minimum overall building performance standards at levels much higher than at present and providing new technical guidance on low and zero carbon systems. PV is not ruled out and remains one of the technologies that builders can choose to adopt to comply with the regulations.’ And in response to a call to extend ‘permitted development status’ to the installation of small scale renewables by householders, Keith Hill replied ‘It is already the case that, as a general rule, those in dwelling houses can install solar panels and photovoltaic cells without needing to make a planning application, provided the panels do not project significantly above the plane of the roof’.

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