A new solar energy centre is set to open in April to help the industry and government deliver on solar photovoltaic (PV) opportunities in the future.

The BRE National Solar Centre in St Austwell, Cornwall, aims to drive innovation, cost reduction and increased confidence in the marketplace through knowledge generation. It is hoped this will help the industry meet the government’s ambition to increase capacity from 1.4GW to 20GW by 2020.

“The centre will help the sector deliver further reductions so solar PV can become competitive with other low-carbon electricity sources,” said BRE director Nick Tune.

“There are significant opportunities to support the development of Building Integrated PV products and the interaction of PV with commercial buildings. We will also look at issues around smart grids, storage, power output prediction and more – all critical factors for improving the long-term performance of the technology and creating confidence in its future.”

Speaking at the launch of the centre, energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said the centre would help drive down costs, improve efficiency, catalyse growth, encourage innovation and help develop expertise in the sector.

“Solar is an exciting and rapidly growing clean, green source of power and has a valuable part to play in the UK’s energy mix. We have seen dramatic reductions in costs of the technology over the past year and that’s why we have made changes to our incentives under Feed-in-Tariffs and the Renewables Obligation, to help put this industry on a more sustainable footing and ensure solar continues to thrive in the future.”

More on this topic

Ten top tips for investing in solar PV

Keep up with latest news on renewables on our Farm Energy page

Gemma Mackenzie on G+