On Wednesday 16th January 2013 the official launch of the BRE National Solar Centre (NSC) took place with The Building Research Establishment (BRE) doing the honours in the presence of Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change.
The centre, that is expected to be open in April of this year, is to be situated in St Austell, Cornwall and will provide the solar industry in the United Kingdom with a number of training and research services. The Solar Trade Association (STA) has provided significant input during the development of the centre.
Solar installers and developers will have an excellent base to carry out research, improve installation processes of solar panels, undertake the testing of numerous new technologies, provide staff training and collect and analyse performance data for a variety of solar systems under controlled conditions.
Nick Tune, who is the Director of BRE Wales and South West will head up the BRE National Solar Centre. He stated that the centre will be concentrating on providing the solar industry with independent data that is required to be able to have an understanding of “what is being generated, where, and using what technologies”.
Furthermore, the Building Research Establishment, working jointly in partnership with the Solar Trade Association, intend to look at best practises for the ever increasing market for large solar installations plus a code od practise that will be supported by the solar industry in relation to solar installations exceeding a capacity of 50kW. Also, the BRE was keen to enhance the business relationship between the solar and building industries including looking into solar systems that can be integrated into buildings.
Paul Barwell, who is the Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association, felt that the centre was excellent news for the solar industry in the United Kingdom as it would provide independent expertise and information. He was most complimentary about the BRE.
The centre will be making itself known to the manufacturers and installers of solar systems and encouraging them to utilise the research and training services it provides although, during the development stages, a number of the leading solar firms in the United Kingdom were consulted on certain matters.
Whilst at the launch Greg Barker said, amongst other things: “The new Cornwall based National Solar Centre will help drive down costs, improve efficiency, catalyse growth, spur innovation and develop expertise on the ground.”