Time for PV panic is passed says Panasonic

It's time to move on from the "chaos and panic" created by the Government around feed-in tariffs (FiTs) and show just how efficient solar power can be, says Panasonic Europe business development manager for photovoltaics (PV) Christian Comes.

Speaking to edie as work on a unique solar array in central London reached a new landmark, Comes criticised the Government for creating “tariff mayhem” through the long-running FiT saga.

“They wanted a scare and to stop the huge number of people wanting to do PV,” he explained. “It created chaos and panic. People feared that they would end up losing money. There was a lot of fear [and] we’ve been living with a very low baseline of demand since then, even though the financial situation is still good.”

Comes insisted there is “plenty of profitability in PV” and urged potential customers to allow the experts in the industry the chance to “provide the business case” for solar PV. And it seems some stability is returning to the solar PV sector with installation capacity up 6% in May compared with April, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) following confirmation of the rates and scheduled cuts.

Comes’ comments came as Panasonic revealed that work to construct the largest solar panel array in London reached half way today when the 2,200th solar panel was installed on the roof of Blackfriars bridge. The Victorian bridge forms the foundation of the new station, currently being upgraded by Network Rail.

Work on the project started in October last year and, ideally, the roof would have been completed by now. However, terrible conditions – including the wettest quarter on record – delayed construction.

Eventually, the bridge will support 4,400 solar panels generating up to 50% of the station’s energy needs. This equates to around 900,000 kWh of electricity, and carbon savings in the region of 500 tonnes.

The panels, manufactured by Panasonic and designed and installed by SolarCentury, cover an area of 6,000m2, which will make Blackfriars the largest solar bridge in the world.

Comes said it demonstrated the true potential of solar in dense urban areas. “This project shows what you can do with highly efficient solar PV and how you can generate power when people need it.”

According to SolarCentury, the project was “never dependent” on FiTs, which on August 1 will fall from 8.9p/kWh to 7.1p for project of this size.

edie staff

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