PM applauds UK solar PV potential

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has praised the potential of solar PV to help Britain diversify its energy mix alongside addressing climate change. The PM made his comments during a visit to his local constituency in Witney, Oxfordshire

Mr Cameron was due to open a new 12.56 kWp solar array which has just been installed on the roof of the village hall in Eynsham. The array is the first step in a local solar PV scheme called the People's Power Station developed by local green group, The Low Carbon Hub in association with Oxfordshire Council. The county is home to the UK's second largest polluting power station, Didcot A coal and gas-fired plant which will be shut down in 2015 as it fails to meet EC carbon emission standards. The Low Carbon Hub was formed in order to help address the energy gap that will result from the plant's closure while also doing so in a sustainable way.

"Our vision is to mobilise everyone in Oxfordshire to 'power down' and reduce energy demand and 'power up' by increasing renewable energy generation to replace Didcot A," said Barbara Hammond, the Director of the Low Carbon Hub. "We know from the work we've done with Oxford University that we have enough renewable energy resource in the county to meet these requirements as long as we hit national carbon reduction targets in 2020. We're not financing all the installations but are in the process of raising the cash to provide support to a raft of community projects. We're also working with communities to get households aggregated for domestic energy retrofitting, spreading the word to businesses, and identifying community-scale renewable energy projects across Oxfordshire that we can help make happen."

The Low Carbon Hub intend to replicate community solar projects right across the county until the Didcot Power Station is replaced.

"This is just the beginning" commented Dr Chris Jardine, the Technical Director of Joju Solar.

Mr Cameron opened the new array by saying: "It makes sense as a country to be less reliant on sources of oil and other fuels from difficult and dangerous parts of the world. It makes sense to be more diversified and what could be more diversified than local sources and locally produced energy. We've got to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere if we care about climate change and solar power can help us do that."

"What you're doing here [in Eynsham] as a decentralised energy project is hugely important in cutting carbon, providing jobs, making us resilient and important in the long-term to have low cost energy" the Prime Minister continued. "I'm personally very committed to this agenda. It's great for me as Prime Minister to come and see this project to praise the People's Power Station... the meetings I've had with local green groups gives me great inspiration about decentralised energy."

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