Solar funding lights up British buildings

Crown Estate buildings in London's Regent Street are among sixteen developments to be granted Government solar microgeneration funding, energy minister Malcolm Wicks announced this week.

A total of £1.2m from the last batch of the DTI’s Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Programme will go to installing solar panels in public and private buildings, Malcolm Wicks told an Aberdeen conference. Projects range from the high profile regeneration of Regent Street to deprived areas of North London and a B&Q warehouse.

The prestigious redevelopment of Regent Street, where 10,000 people work and many thousands pass through every day, will demonstrate that photovoltaics can successfully be installed in historic buildings. Solar panels fixed to the roof of the Crown Estate building and solar tiles on the south-facing façade should become a “public demonstration of the Crown Estate’s commitment to environmental and social sustainability,” the DTI said.

Another high profile recipient of the photovoltaics funding is St James’ Homes, the first major housing developer to offer a package of eco-options in a houding development, the DTI said. All 2,100 homes on the Reading estate will include optional photovolataic solar panels alongside solar thermal, wind power and greywater harvesting.

The rest of the funding went to a wide range of public and private buildings, including schools and a Hull entertainment complex. Many of the solar photovoltaics are designed to be clearly visible to the public, strenghthening their educational role.

The photovoltaics funding scheme, which delivered £30m to solar projects since 2002, was replaced by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme in April.

Malcolm Wicks said: “Grants will also continue to be provided under the new £80 million Low Carbon Buildings programme. The scheme is administered for the DTI by the Energy Saving Trust and I urge anyone interested in installing micro technologies to contact their helpline for more information.”

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust which administers the Low Carbon Buildings programme on behalf of the DTI, said: “We are delighted in the success of the major demonstration programme which will save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions for the UK and we’re looking forward to continuing this success through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.”

See here for more information on the Low Carbon Building Programme.

Goska Romanowicz

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie