30 July 2002 – Work on the first home to be fitted with solar roof-slates under a government initiative to encourage the use of solar power in the UK has been completed.

The £20m ($31.2m) scheme is designed to increase the number of domestic solar power – or hotovoltaic – installations in the UK ten fold by 2005.

The funding for the solar roofs was made available through the DTI’s Major Photovoltaics Demonstration Programme (PV MDP). In May, the first nine applications for small-scale projects were agreed, including the first home in Dover, Kent.

PV systems generate electricity directly from light and may be incorporated into building products for use as roofing or cladding. It is a form of renewable energy perhaps uniquely suited to the urban environment requiring no additional land area.

Energy Minister, Brian Wilson said, “It is very encouraging that the first PV slates under this scheme have been installed on ordinary homes. Thousands of homes and offices across the UK are now set to be powered by solar power under the £20m programme announced in March. We are offering grants to both the public and private sectors to install systems on new or existing buildings.”

16 installation companies have been accredited to fit solar roofs under the PV MDP. This installer accreditation scheme together with an approved product list is intended to ensure that only good quality installations are subsidised under the programme.

Other solar initiatives recently announced by Brian Wilson include the domestic and large-Scale Field Trials:

* £4m for sun-powered social and private housing developments across the UK, representing 380 houses, flats and bungalows; and
* £4m for the installation of solar systems on large-scale public buildings.