September 22, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] In a key statement on renewables, the UK’s new Energy Minister, Mike O’Brien announced that schools, houses and commercial buildings will benefit from £8.5 million (US$ 15.2 million) extra new funding to encourage more energy production from solar panels and small-scale renewables. This brings the total funding for solar projects under the Major Photovoltaics Program to £31 million (US$ 55.5 million) and will enable three more funding rounds to take place in 2005/06. This will ensure that help for household applications and medium to large-scale solar electric power installations continues. O’Brien also announced that communities, not-for-profit organizations and households will benefit from new funding to extend the Clear Skies initiative for a further year, bringing the total finding up to £12.5 million (US$ 22.3 million). Clear Skies grants are available for a variety of renewable technologies where communities can get up to 50 percent of capital costs up to a maximum of £100,00 (US$ 179 million) toward capital costs.