Solar Power Funded in UK

Thousands of homes and offices across the UK are set to be powered by cleaner energy as part of a £20 million (US$28 million) solar power program approved recently by UK Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

LONDON, England 2002-03-28 [] The money is being made available through the DTI’s Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Program (PV MDP) and will help reduce carbon emissions and significantly cut the cost of solar technology over the next three years. Grants will be offered to the private and public sector to install solar systems on new or existing buildings. As a result of this investment, the number of domestic PV installations in the UK is expected to increase ten fold by 2005. Hewitt announced the plan during a visit to the Beddington Zero Energy Development (Bed ZED) in Sutton. “The Government has a commitment to developing and exploiting all forms of Renewable Energy, so I am delighted to announce the first phase of this very important program,” Hewitt said. “This money will not only contribute to the UK achieving its ambitious environmental goals, but also help the UK photovoltaic industry develop the technology to allow us to compete for this massive global market.” Hewitt also announced the appointment of a consortium led by the Energy Saving Trust and including Halcrow and Novacroft, as the program management contractor. The consortium will be responsible for the day to day running of the program. The announcement builds on other DTI solar energy initiatives recently announced by Energy Minister Brian Wilson. These include: – £4 million (US$5.6 million) of funding for the installation of solar systems on public buildings including schools, galleries, church halls and sports centers all over the UK. – £4 million (US$5.6 million) for sun-powered social and private housing developments across the UK, representing 380 houses, flats and bungalows. Hewitt pointed to the Bed ZED development as a good example of how sustainable development could be factored in to new housing and offices. Bed ZED is an 82-home environmentally friendly, energy-efficient mix of housing and workspace that aims to be the first ‘carbon neutral’ community. The solar part of the project has been funded by the European Union and the DTI. The Peabody Trust, one of London’s largest housing associations, manages the development. “Bed ZED is one of the leading models of urban sustainability in Europe, combining innovative design and construction techniques with a firm commitment to creating a truly sustainable new community,” said Richard McCarthy, Chief Executive of Peabody Trust. “Bed ZED is having a positive impact across the construction, housing and energy sectors and it shows that developing energy efficient, sustainable housing is not only feasible but vital for improving quality of life and minimizing environmental degradation.”
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