Energy Minister Greg Barker has today officially launched the BRE National Solar Centre (NSC).
The NSC will be located in St Austell, Cornwall, and is intended to help industry realise the ambitions laid out for the technology in the recently published renewable roadmap.
The centre has successfully gained EU funding as well as local support from Cornwall County Council and the government.
Speaking at the launch of the NSC, Barker said: “Solar is an exciting and rapidly growing clean, green source of power and has a valuable part to play in the UK’s energy mix.
"The new Cornwall based National Solar Centre will help drive down costs, improve efficiency, catalyse growth, spur innovation and develop expertise on the ground.
“We have seen dramatic reductions in costs of the technology over the past year and that’s why we have made changes to our incentives under feed-in tariffs and the Renewables Obligation, to help put this industry on a more sustainable footing and ensure solar continues to thrive in the future."
The centre is hoping to engage with organisations outside the traditional scope of the industry to try to ensure that solar PV's potential is better understood.
Nick Tune, Director of the Building Research Establishment, which developed the idea for the centre, said: “We have a real opportunity here to drive the uptake of solar PV. The sector has seen a dramatic reduction in installed costs by up to 50% between 2010-2012.
“The centre will help the sector deliver further reductions so solar PV can become competitive with other low-carbon electricity sources. There are significant opportunities to support the development of building-integrated PV products and the interaction of PV with commercial buildings.
”We will also look at issues around smart grids, storage, power output prediction and more – all critical factors for improving the long term performance of the technology and creating confidence in its future.”
The BRE National Solar Centre will open in April 2013. The National Solar Centre is currently looking to fill several senior roles. More details about the opportunities available can be found here.