London-based Solarcentury has received the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The prize, honored on an annual basis by HM the Queen, has been presented to the company for outstanding business performance, corporate social responsibility and excellence in innovation for its C21e solar electric roof tile and slate.

Solarcentury, which was established in 1998, designs, manufactures and installs solar photovoltaic products on buildings. The company has a history of innovation in building-integrated (BIPV) solar products that provide an alternative to traditional building materials, and can often present a more aesthetic approach to PV installation.

The ‘C21e’ integrated solar roof tile has been used by major house builders across the UK since 2005, and is now accepted as a mainstream construction product. The tile is also sold across Western Europe. Back in March 2010 the new universal C21e solar electric slate was launched, enabling many of the four million UK homes with slate roofs to go solar. Most recently, the C21e was installed on over 70 homes at the UK's largest carbon neutral housing development, Graylingwell Park.

To date, Solarcentury has installed over 1,500 solar PV turnkey projects, including Housing Associations, national and local house builders; the Eden Project; the UK Environment Agency; Europe’s largest vertical solar facade on the CIS Tower Manchester; 260 schools in the UK and 28 secondary schools for the Province of Milan, Italy.

Derry Newman, CEO Solarcentury said, “Receiving the Queens Award for our innovation is is a testament to Solarcentury's depth of experience in solar roofing and our ability to develop world-class products with our own in-house innovation team. Solarcentury is a solar energy company with a purpose: to drive forward the change to renewable and clean solar energy by being the global leader in building integrated solar products.”

“To achieve our goals, our design team now use innovation & manufacturing techniques used in the automotive and high tech consumer electronics industries.  Our products are carefully designed to perform and to last.  The C21e tile is used by house builders just like any other roofing product and is very simple and fast to install. We believe we have now developed more solar products to replace building materials than anyone else, and we urge the Government not to restrict growth in the creation of these intelligent low carbon materials.”

This news comes at uncertain times in the UK solar industry, as the Government consults on severe changes to the incentives policy, which was put in place just a year before. Plans to cut the feed-in tariff rates for projects over 50kW have caused a great amount of disruption in what was a burgeoning industry.

These potential cuts are not only inhibiting growth in the sector, but also putting jobs at risk in this highly skilled and innovative trade.  The industry, through campaign groups such as ‘We Support Solar,’ the Solar Trade Association, Renewable Energy Association and other industry bodies, is now lobbying Government to try and get this decision turned around.

Solarcentury was also named in the world's top 100 most promising private clean technology companies as a 'Global Cleantech 100 company' by the Guardian News and Media and the Cleantech Group in 2009 and 2010. Last year the company was also listed as the UK’s Fastest Growing Private Energy Company by UK’s Sunday Times Tech Track 100 last.