UK solar panel industry presses for more government support

The British Photovoltaic Association (PV-UK) has presented a document to a parliamentary committee on 26 January 99 outlining its strategy to improve collaboration between the industry and the UK government.

The strategy is designed to increase the UK’s global market share of PV manufacturing to 15% – worth £1.2 billion – and to increase installed PV capacity in the UK to 300 MWp by 2010.

PV-UK’s strategy will create around 19,000 jobs, increase skills and revenues to the UK, and help the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (the abatement of an estimated 165,000 t of CO2).

PV-UK says that a lack of government support for the industry undermines the PV community’s confidence in the UK’s PV industry and prevents investment. Meanwhile, the industry is developing rapidly, with the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan taking the lead. For example, the new German government has announced a 100,000 PV Roofs programme within 90 days of coming to office.

The PV-UK strategy is designed to overcome this. If implemented, it would showcase British PV technology, stimulate the UK market, support exports for developing country PV Rural Electrification Programmes and increase support for R&D in line with overseas competitors.

The Association says the British PV industry is willing to invest, but needs to showcase the technology and develop a sustainable market. There are thousands of PV systems operating successfully in the UK but most are small scale.

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