The University of Salford has opened a £400,000 research facility for solar power which has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The new facility provides businesses based in the north-west region with a facility to test new designs, configurations and installation methods for solar cells. In addition, businesses will be able to benefit from the university’s expertise in the energy sector and will be offered free consultancy services.

The Salford-based site is fully equipped with industry standard production machinery imported from Italy which is capable of manufacturing solar panels. The university believes that the facility can be most effectively used in the same manner as the Salford Energy House, where a rebuilt terraced property has been installed inside a climate-controlled lab and is used by businesses to test the latest in energy efficient technology.

The university is holding a launch event on 16 April which will witness the first solar panel being rolled off the production line.

Richard Fitton, Energy Technical Consultant at the University said: “We’re working hard to reduce heating and electricity demand using our Energy House and this solar facility adds clean generation to the service we can provide to businesses.

“This service is free to eligible businesses under a European Regional Development Fund grant, so there is every reason to come to the event or get in touch to find out how we can help.”