The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, has cleared the first stage of the scheme to install £47m worth of solar rooftop panels over the next four years. The plan is to install the solar panels on council owned houses and public buildings as part of a bid to become European Green Capital in 2015. Bristol is also hoping to become the UK’s “Solar Capital” by installing 1GW of solar power by 2020.
Minister of State: Gregory Barker’s Solar Energy UK Speech
This comes after the announcement from Minister of State Gregory Barker’s speech to the Solar Energy UK conference, which set out the vision for growth of UK solar PV. Gregory Barker quoted “I think we can go faster and further. I am on record as having a personal ambition to see 20GW [in the UK] deployed by 2020. And I continue to believe that is possible.”
The Changes Needed
However, he also went on to explain that several things needed to change for this to become a reality:
- The Industry needs to drive down costs even quicker.
- Solar companies need to innovate faster.
- The energy sector needs to push for efficiency through the whole supply chain.
- Solar PV developers need work closer with local communities and avoid alienating them.
- And the energy and solar industry needs to look at export markets.
The Scheme Details
Bristol City Council confirmed yesterday that it has already started to seek contractors for the first £6m phase of the solar scheme. The formal tender process is expected to begin in January 2014 and start work in June. The programme could also cover more properties, depending on the success of the project and tenants, and could use some fields in the region to create larger solar panel arrays. The council said it plans to borrow money to pay for the phase, which will then be repaid by the feed-in tariff payments. The scheme could save occupiers £130-£260 a year and reduce council costs.
George Ferguson’s thoughts regarding the plans: “I really welcome this proposal. It is an important step forward which supports our environmental role, a leading one in Europe.”