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PV shipments grow as community grants dry up

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 18 March 2009 at 10:29 am

Shipments of photovoltaic (PV) panels (solar electricity) are growing year on year at a rapid rate around the world. Much of this is driven by multi-MW PV farms or so called Solar Parks. These require large areas of land and are best suited to sunnier climes and places where land is more available. Britain may be a bit too crowded for this type of PV farm.

In the UK a large number of installations are roof mounted. Community buildings and schools have been good locations, achieving both renewable energy production and also an element of awareness raising, which are both important.  Support for this has been through the Low Carbon Building Programme.

As predicted a few weeks ago the funding for PV has now all been allocated.  This creates a difficult business climate for installers as organisations can no longer afford the systems, or delay their purchases as they hope additional funds will be added to the programme.

A feed-in tariff is offered in a large number of European countries instead of capital grants to make the installation of PV systems attractive. Many in the renewable energy industry are lobbying for this and the government has said that it will introduce a feed in tariff to replace the current funding system.

Let's just hope that levels are sufficiently high to make the technologies cost effective. We will come back to this topic again as the details are announced over the coming months.

Photo by Dominic

About the author: Graham Eastwick is a director of Encraft, and manages renewable energy installations for home owners, community organisations and small businesses across the UK.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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