The BRE National Solar Centre (NSC) in the UK opened on April 25th this year as a centre for excellence and knowledge for solar energy in the UK. It aims to drive the UK solar market and solar innovation forwards through industry-led research, data analysis, testing, and training. The NSC will also connect to universities world-wide to further research and future technologies. The NSC can also act as a united voice for the UK industry and connect to international photovoltaic (PV) players. The centre also hopes to develop set standards for large-scale installations that will also compliment UK’s current standards, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and offer due diligence consulting.
Milk the Sun is interviewing Jonny Williams, the project manager of UK’s recently opened National Solar Centre.
Johnny Williams (right) states that quality information will support the UK solar industry.
Milk the Sun: Mr. Williams, what will be the main goals of the NSC in 2013?
Williams: To establish the BRE National Solar Centre as the leading knowledge centre for solar PV and solar thermal in the UK. Also we wish to look at international opportunities and to set up our solar test site.
Milk the Sun: NSC wants to focus on evidence-based information for the people involved in the PV supply chain. How can this type of information and research benefit the UK solar market?
Williams: The rapid development of the UK solar industry since April 2010 has seen a lot of benefits for the industry but also a number of problems to do with a lack of reliable information. The provision of good quality information on cost, quality and energy generation for a range of different projects will support the industry to grow, mature and thrive.
Milk the Sun: How will the NSC reach out to international players? How does the NSC plan on contributing research to the international PV market?
Williams: We are actively pursuing a number of international opportunities through BRE’s existing network of contacts and also via UK government departments such as UKTI (UK Trade and Investment).
Milk the Sun: Do you think that UK public opinion on solar energy is dependent on their knowledge of solar energy? Will research acquired by the NSC be transparent and accessible to the public?
Williams: The public perception of all type of energy generators or energy savers is subject to many different influences, some of which bear little resemblance to science or good quality data. All BRE National Solar Centre key outputs will be available to the public.
Milk the Sun: What do you expect to see in UK’s future government policies in regards to the solar energy sector?
Williams: We have been very pleased to see the UK government’s continuing support of the solar industry. Clearly energy security, UK jobs and low carbon generation are viewed as being key contributions from the UK solar industry. As such I would expect to see support in the UK to continue, as long as the industry can focus on quality and innovation.
Milk the Sun: What do you predict for the future of UK’s solar PV market, especially with the EU’s tariff on Chinese solar modules?
Williams: The job for the BRE National Solar Centre is to focus on reliable evidence produced by independent research and testing. By providing this the industry will continue to develop in the future.
Milk the Sun would like to thank Mr. Williams for a compelling interview and are excited to see how the NSC will change the UK solar industry.