UK Funds Release a Flood of Solar Projects

The UK’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced £2 million (US$3.3 million) for new solar renewable energy projects spread throughout the country. The 21 projects to receive funding include a solar powered gas station and what will be the largest planned solar power installation in the UK.

London, England – June 11, 2003 [] “Solar power is an increasingly important part of the renewable energy revolution,” said the UK’s Energy Minister Brian Wilson. “It is a clean and low impact source of energy that is making a valuable contribution to reducing our carbon dioxide emissions.” The funding is part of the DTI’s £20 million (US$33 million) Photovoltaic Major Demonstration Program. The 21 projects, which are spread geographically from the Western Isles to Cornwall and from London Llannelli, are the fourth set of proposals approved since the program began in 2002. Among the more notable projects in the list is the major refurbishment of the Co-operative Insurance Society’s headquarters in Manchester. The company’s high-rise tower built in 1962 will have a 270 kW Sharp PV array installed on the South, East, and West sides of the tower making it the largest solar PV installation in the UK to date. The £175,000 (US$289,000) grant will cover part of the cost of the 150 kW South-facing facade only. The London Bus Services Limited is reinstating a redundant bus garage to accommodate 120 buses to increase public transport facilities within London. As part of this they intend to introduce a number of sustainable measures including a photovoltaic roof, natural day lighting using roof lights and recycled water from the roof to use in washing the buses. The photovoltaic system will consist of 43.15 kW of Kaneka thin film modules. Trinity Buoy Wharf space management intends to install flexible PV cells bonded onto the roof membrane on a refurbished 19th century warehouse in London. The system will consist of 15.36 kW of Unisolar thin film modules linked together using 120 small inverters. The refurbishment aims to convert the old dock warehouse into a multi-cultural arts and community center. As part of the refurbishment a 19th century Aeolian wind turbine will be renovated to provide electricity to the site and the use of a tide driven generator will also be investigated. Another project will provide one of only a few examples of vertically integrated PV facades in the country. Park Lane College in Leeds are looking to expand and are building a new extension to their existing buildings. The new building will incorporate a vertical facade consisting of 62.5 kW of BP Solar 5180 modules, the next generation Saturn modules. “These innovative projects are just the latest to benefit from funding and the growing market for renewable technologies,” Wilson said. “They are helping to change the way people think about and use energy.” A total of 30 projects were submitted to the fourth selection panel of the major photovoltaics demonstration program. The 21 projects selected for the total funding of £2 million will lead to a further installed 581 kW capacity for the UK. Under UK conditions 1kWp of PV cells could be expected to produce around 750 kW hours of electricity in a year. The average UK household uses 3,000-3,500 kW hours and a 2 kW system might meet about half of household’s demand. For a full list describing the all the projects, installers and funding allocations see the DTI’s news release at the link below.
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