Boost for UK solar industry with new £10m PV plant
Climate Minister Greg Barker welcomed the announcement of the new plant
The UK solar industry has received a major boost with the announcement that a £10million 30MW solar PV manufacturing plant will be built in England.
Midlands-based firm SunSolar is set to build the plant in Oldbury, in the West Midlands, after securing £5m of government funding, which will be backed £5m of the company’s own money.
Climate Minister Greg Barker said SunSolar’s new plant, which is expected to create up to 600 jobs when it opens in October, provided a “huge vote of confidence” for British based solar manufacturing.
He said: “This announcement is fantastic news for Oldbury, bringing new jobs and investment, and a huge vote of confidence in the outlook for the solar industry in the UK. I want to see many more UK businesses taking the lead in the growing global market for green energy.”
According to trade website Solar Power Portal, SunSolar also has plans for more manufacturing sites in the UK and is currently seeking a 10-acre site for a purpose-build PV manufacturing and R&D facility.
The announcement is the latest boost for Britain’s solar business following the controversial cuts to the Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) for solar PV and the resulting decline in the industry. Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that Sharp will relocate the headquarters of its solar operation from Hamburg, in Germany, to its plant at Wrexham, in Wales.
In other renewables news, Danish firm Vestas, the biggest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, announced last week that it has scrapped plans for a wind turbine manufacturing facility in Kent that would have created 2,000 jobs.
The company’s Chief Sales Officer Juan Araluce said the decision to abandon the plant at the port of Sheerness would not affect Vestas’ strong commitment to developing both offshore and onshore wind industries in Britain.
“We will remain active across the two markets in the UK as they both continue to show considerable potential,” he said in a statement.
Maria McCaffery, CEO of wind and marine energy trade body RenewableUK said: "Naturally we are disappointed with this decision, but as the world-leader in offshore wind, the UK remains an attractive place for manufacturers and members of the supply chain to have a base.”
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