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National Solar Centre opens its doors in Cornwall

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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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