npower, Solar Century to Develop Solar Power

Cheap, clean electricity powered by daylight has taken a step closer to everyday use with the announcement of a partnership between the UK’s biggest electricity supplier – npower – and Solar Century.

WORCESTER, England – June 21, 2002 [] The companies aim jointly to develop an affordable solar energy ‘account’ where the individual customer also acts as a mini-generator. As well as contributing to cleaner air, the project could lead to reduced bills for businesses and homeowners, while ensuring a steady supply whatever the weather. The partnership’s first proposal is for Britain’s largest solar roof for a state-of-the-art indoor training facility at Alexander Stadium Birmingham. The proposed design was unveiled at the annual conference of PRASEG – the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group. The indoor training center, commissioned by Birmingham City Council, is due for completion in January 2003. If the proposal receives final planning approval it will use the latest photovoltaic technology, which generates electricity well in low light conditions. The roof is being provided by Solar Century and the costs have been met by a £270,000 (US$404,000) grant from the DTI and a £70,000 (US$104,000) contribution from npower. Matt Thomas, head of Renewable Energy at npower said the Stadium facility would use net metering – the approach that could bring solar into everyday use. “The building would generate electricity from its solar panels and sell it to npower. In return we sell a steady supply back to them which works out cheaper for the customer, cost-effective for us, and better for the environment,” Thomas said. “We’re now working with Solar Century to bring this model to a wider market.” “The alliance between npower and Solar Century is a major new step in the evolution of this industry, and we are thrilled about it,” said Jeremy Leggett, Chief Executive of Solar Century. “The solar cell could be to the beginning of the 21st century what the microchip was to the last decades of the 20th century.”
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