Adding to the total of solar photovoltaic projects springing up across the UK, the 9.99kWp array constructed at the University of Sheffield by EvoEnergy has now been officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

A total of 70m² has been covered on the roof of the University’s Hicks Building on Hounsfield Road in South Yorkshire. The panels will produce electricity for the building itself, while any excess energy will be fed back into the national grid. This means that the University will earn money from both the export feed-in tariff as well as the generation tariff.

The solar array is also being used to test new and experimental designs.

In the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy, work is underway to develop new generations of solar cells using plastic as opposed to silicon, making solar power more affordable and thus increasing the market’s potential even more. 

Dr Alastair Buckley from the University's Department of Physics, who is leading the Sheffield Solar Farm project said, “It is an important venture as it is bridging the gap between the research lab and how solar cells are used in the real world.”

Dr Alan Whitehead MP, chair of the PRASEG Solar PV Forum welcomed the opening of the new project: “The PRASEG Solar PV Forum welcomes the opening of the Sheffield Solar Farm Project and hope that it will be the first of many such projects introduced by the new Government. I hope that they will also continue to support flagship green initiatives, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in Tariffs, in order to make good on their promise of being the UK’s “greenest government.”

Dr Whitehead will also be speaking at the Solar Power UK Conference 2010, discussing the key engagement with UK parliament on solar.

For more information on the Sheffield University installation please visit the Solar Power Portal Case Studies section.