Solar power is at the forefront of a smarter energy sector, but to enable a new wave of PV installations in Europe, solar needs new regulatory frameworks that value flexibility, says the Smart Energy UK and Europe conference in London.
The U.K. government has awarded £40 million to four British cities to support the spread of electrical and low-emission vehicles. Supported projects include car-charging street lighting and zones offering free parking and traffic priority to plug-in and low-emission cars. The initiative is seen as another step towards the smart energy revolution.
A grassroots project in Cornwall, England, is examining ways to implement a special, so-called “sunshine tariff.” The project, although small in scale, could provide the template for the solar business models of the new era of zero subsidies.
The concept of the smart home is emerging as a hot topic in the debate regarding the U.K.’s energy future. At the EcoBuild last week, a special session entitled “Smart and Efficient Use of Future Energy” depicted accurately the central role solar PV plays in the transition to the smart era. It also highlighted how innovation leadership is coming from small, bottom-up firms as utilities and policy-makers struggle to adapt and embrace the new technologies.
The fund plans to acquire two PV plants with a combined capacity of 74 MW and expects to continue acquisitions of plants below and above 5 MW following the introduction of next year’s CfD scheme.
The increased budget will be split between the various renewable energy technologies bidding for subsidy support. The country’s Solar Trade Association says the government’s decisions “represent serious tragic mistakes in energy policy.”
pv magazine’s Ilias Tsagas argues that should Scotland’s population vote today in favor of independence, this will not hurt its renewable energy sector but might give it a further boost.
The solar asset manager expects to double its operational capacity in the U.K. in the next twelve months to some 200 MW. It’s latest acquisition includes the 37 MW Kencot, Oxfordshire, PV farm.
While small FIT-supported projects have driven the British photovoltaic market, 2013 has seen an increasing amount of large-scale capacity as the government weighs green tax reductions while embracing nuclear power.
The Foresight Solar Fund would finance eight U.K. ground mount plants with the profits from a planned London IPO. A partner for the fund says solar offers a more attractive investment in the UK than wind.
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