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Academics to lead solar power project

Academics are leading a three-year research project into the potential costs and benefits of solar energy in the UK.

The Loughborough University team is joining forces with experts from Imperial College, in London, and aerial mapping company, Bluesky, to understand how solar PV generation in the UK varies across regions as well as what environmental conditions can affect output.

The study will find out how many solar panels there are, where they are and how much energy is being produced and how it will integrate with the national grid.

Professor Ralph Gottschalg, Dr Paul Rowley and Dr Tom Betts, from the university’s Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, are leading the project, called PV2025.

The project is being funded by a £1 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. At the end of 2011, there were 230,000 solar power projects in the UK. By February 2012, the installed capacity had reached 1,000 MW.

Last year, the Government said 4 million homes across the UK would be powered by the sun within eight years, representing 22,000 MW of installed solar power capacity by 2020. The project aims to answer how systems, known as photovoltaics or PV, are affected by geography and legislation.

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