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National Solar Centre to move to Eden Project

Just seven months after it initially opened the National Solar Centre has announced that it will is set to move from its current location to the Eden Project in Cornwall

The move will also include the creation of a solar test site on brownfield land at the Grimshaw-designed Eden Project.

The National Solar Centre was first opened in April to ‘to drive innovation, cost reduction and increased confidence in the photovoltaic (PV) marketplace through knowledge generation’.

Barry Marsh, centre director, said: ‘this exciting opportunity ends months of negotiation on various sites and will enable us to start development plans for our PV performance testing site – a very important part of what we do. Both Eden and BRE have exemplary green credentials and will be working together to provide research, consultancy and training on photovoltaics’.

Dan James Eden’s development director added: ‘In a short period of time the National Solar Centre has become an important research base of the national solar industry and we look forward to working in collaboration long into the future. There has always been an ambition from Eden to establish a cluster of environmental activity aimed at creating new businesses, delivering training provision and demonstrating new environmental technologies. The Eden site provides a unique opportunity to attract businesses and capture the growth expected within the low carbon business sector.’

The centre will relocate to the Eden Project early next year.

Previous story (26.04.13)

National Solar Centre opens its doors in Cornwall

Yesterday, (25 April) energy minister Greg Barker opened a new centre promoting the British solar industry

The BRE’s National Solar Centre in St Austell, Cornwall aims to drive product innovation within the British solar industry, becoming a centre for research and development into solar power.

The centre is to work on the development of future standards to raise the quality of PV installations. They have partnered with Cornwall Council to develop a planning guidance document for the installation of solar parks in the UK.

Speaking at the Large Scale Solar Conference, held in Truro, energy minister Greg Barker said: ‘Solar is a genuinely exciting energy of the future, it is coming of age and we want to see a lot, lot more.

‘But not at any cost… not in any place… not if it rides roughshod over the views of local communities.

He added: ‘The new National Solar Centre, based in St Austell in Cornwall, will play a fundamental role in driving forward the solar industry here in the UK. Not only will work carried out by the Centre help to cut costs, improve efficiency and drive forward innovation in this sector, it will also help position the UK as a top destination for global investment in this exciting technology.’

We must be thoughtful, sensitive to public opinion, and mindful of the wider environmental and visual impacts

‘As we take solar to the next level, we must be thoughtful, sensitive to public opinion, and mindful of the wider environmental and visual impacts.’

Commenting on the launch of the NSC, Frans van den Heuvel of one of the centre’s founding members, Solarcentury said: ‘Back in 1998, our engineers worked with the National Grid on some of the first ever connections in this country. Now we are installing parks in excess of 10MW. As the industry matures, we are pleased to partner with the National Solar Centre and to contribute to this centre of excellence.’

The centre has received  more than £800,000 funding from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund along with support from Cornwall Council. Founding members, drawn from the UK solar industry have contributed more than £100,000 to the centre’s development.  

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