Could an entire town go solar?
Date: 23 May 2011
From a UK resident pushing 100 neighbors to go solar to a town installing solar on its brewery roof, Britain seems to be on fire with interesting solar initiatives right now. With the UK government pledging 50% emissions cuts by 2025, you'd hope they are going to keep coming. At least one town is stepping up to the plate, setting out a bold vision to be the country's first solar-powered town. But Government policy could hinder as well as help this ambitious scheme.
The Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) clearly isn't into the idea of starting small. In fact, plans are afoot to generate 30% of the town's electricity from solar by 2015. WREN is starting installations with 100 homes, half of which will be buying the systems themselves, and half of which will be funded through a partnership between solar provider Solarcentury and Triodos Bank.
Schemes like these have only become possible through the government's ambitious solar feed-in tariffs, which have kickstarted major investment in solar across the country. However, recent moves to review the feed-in tariff program and restrict payments to larger utility-scale installations could threaten the viability of Wadebridge's efforts, say advocates from the We Support Solar campaign.