Work on the first home to be fitted with solar roof-slates under a government initiative to encourage the use of solar power in the UK was completed recently.LONDON, England – July 1, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] To mark the occasion, Energy Minister Brian Wilson recently visited the offices of Solar Century, a UK solar electric solutions company that installed the roof under a £20 million (US$30 million) government plan designed to increase the number of domestic photovoltaic installations in the UK ten fold by 2005. “It is very encouraging that the first PV slates under this scheme have been installed on ordinary homes,” Wilson said. “Thousands of homes and offices across the UK are now set to be powered by solar power under the £20 million (US$30 million) program announced in March. We are offering grants to both the public and private sectors to install systems on new or existing buildings.” The funding for the solar roofs was made available through the DTI’s Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Program (PV MDP). Last month, the first nine applications for small-scale projects were approved, including the first home in Dover, Kent. The first call for proposals for medium and large-scale projects is currently open with a closing date of the end of this month. Solar Century are one of 15 installation companies to be accredited to fit solar roofs under the PV MDP. This installer accreditation scheme together with an approved product list is intended to ensure that only good quality installations are subsidized under the program. Other solar initiatives recently announced by Wilson include the domestic and large-scale field trials: £4 million (US$6 million) for sun-powered social and private housing developments across the UK, representing 380 houses, flats and bungalows; £4 million (US$6 million) for the installation of solar systems on large-scale public buildings. Wilson, who toured the Solar Century offices and saw the latest in PV technology being demonstrated, also praised the recent announcement by Solar Century and Npower of a partnership to offer an innovative financing package to domestic and business PV installers.