In April, the UK Government introduced the new feed-in tariffs (FITs) to encourage households and businesses to install renewable energy systems such as solar PV. With this solid foundation, solar PV is ready to take off in the UK.
“The UK market for solar PV is growing explosively,” says Philip Wolfe who led the 2008 campaign to introduce the tariffs. “This is because the FITs bring a huge new raft of players – the energy users – into the market; broadening it way beyond the traditional energy industry. All renewable power sources are benefitting, but solar is doing best because it is so easy to apply”, he says from the experience of his new company Ownergy which installs all tariff-eligible renewables.
Whilst countries such as Germany, Spain and Italy have embraced solar PV, the UK has already started to fall behind. “Having experienced the benefits that FITs have to offer, European countries are now looking to capitalise on the emerging UK market,” says Edwin Koot, CEO, Solarplaza - the independent global platform for knowledge, trade and events for the solar PV industry. “We can already see signs of this happening for our upcoming UK PV Conference: where 67% of delegate registrations are from international companies, compared to just 33% from the UK.”
Clive Collison, owner of South Facing, an independent installer of photovoltaic solar energy systems, says, "It will take time to develop the UK market. Currently there is a lack of knowledge so education of potential customers and businesses is needed. Right now, very few people understand the feed-in tariff system and the opportunities to their full extent.
“It took Germany, Spain and Italy three years after the start of their feed-in tariff to reach a substantial market scale. No doubt a similar market development will occur in the UK. That is why conferences like the UK PV Conference are important, to educate the business community and customers and build the business infrastructure. There will be plenty of business for everybody."
Mr Koot concludes: “We’re hosting our first UK PV Conference on 22 June to help entrepreneurs, investors, utilities operators and electrical contractors better understand the UK PV market and all of its business potential. Presentations will be given by UK law makers, regulators, industry experts, financiers and other major solar stakeholders.”
UK PV Conference www.ukpvconference.com
The conference will take place on 22 June 2010 at Central Hall, Westminster, London. A full conference programme will examine solar market potential, investment opportunities, regulatory issues and technology developments. The conference aims to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, financiers, property developers, utilities operators and electrical contractors to learn, discuss and network. The event is being organised by Solarplaza.