Energy Minister Greg Barker has officially launched the BRE National Solar Centre (NSC).
Located in St Austell, Cornwall the centre is being built with the help of a £1.1m grant from the European Regional Development Fund and is due to open in April.
The Building Research Establishment has developed the centre with input from the Solar Trade Association (STA) and hopes for it to support and educate the industry in guidance with the ambitions laid out for the technology in the recently published renewable roadmap.
The primary focus of the centre will be to provide research hub for solar developers and installers, whilst also offering the opportunity to test new technologies, optimise installation processes, train staff and collect data on the performance of different solar systems in a controlled environment.
Chief executive of the STA, Paul Barwell said: “This is great news for the UK solar industry, and very timely. Given the growth of the industry in the past two years, there is a real need for an independent centre of information and expertise. The BRE is a well-established authority on the built environment and is very well placed to deliver this project.”
Speaking at the launch, Greg Barker said: “Solar is an exciting and rapidly growing clean, green source of power and has a valuable part to play in the UK’s energy mix.
“The new Cornwall based National Solar Centre will help drive down costs, improve efficiency, catalyse growth, spur innovation and develop expertise on the ground.
“We have seen dramatic reductions in costs of the technology over the past year and that’s why we have made changes to our incentives under feed-in tariffs and the Renewables Obligation, to help put this industry on a more sustainable footing and ensure solar continues to thrive in the future.”