Solar, Utility Integration, Utility Scale

Large PV Tender Issued by British Government

The British government has called for tenders to install large-scale solar power on public buildings across the country. Energy minister Brian Wilson has announced a £3 million Large-Scale Building Integrated Photovoltaic Field Trial Tender.

LONDON, England, UK, 2001-11-28 [] The Department of Trade & Industry says the initiative could lead to the construction of 12 to 15 solar-powered large public sector buildings, which could take be schools, universities, hospitals, leisure centres, museums or churches. The integration of PV with buildings is viewed as one of the most promising applications of solar electric technology. The buildings provide a ready support for PV panels, which can form an integral part of the building envelope to provide weatherproofing and a source of some daylight. If the electricity generated on the building is consumed inside, transmission power losses are eliminated. While BIPV has been demonstrated on a few buildings in the U.K., it is rarely used due to high capital costs and the poor return from the value of power it generates. As the cost of PV continues to fall and concern over climate change increases, officials in Britain expect BIPV to become more mainstream in sustainable architecture. “This money demonstrates the government’s continuing commitment to the development of solar power,” says Wilson. “If a green revolution is to take place, then solar energy must move from hi-tech business parks into everyday lives.” The money being offered will provide 80 percent of the capital costs of an average PV installation larger than 20 kW peak. The maximum government support will be limited to £300,000 per building or £4/Wp, whichever is lower. The scheme will complement the government’s solar housing trial, which has already provided £5.4 million for 540 homes nation-wide and, together, constitute the majority of the £10 million set aside in March to enable the U.K. to “achieve a solar PV demonstration program in line with those of our main competitors.” “I want to see tens of thousands of roofs covered by solar panels over the next ten years, rivaling the large programs in Germany and Japan,” but Wilson notes that developers and manufacturers of solar equipment in Britain must invest in the future of the industry. Proposals are required by January 11.