Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Written Evidence

Memorandum 74

Supplementary evidence from the Institute of Physics (IoP) following the evidence session on 23 January 2003

Are there any environmental factors, such as the available solar resource, that might limit the deployment of PV in the UK?

  This question demands a complex answer, because it involves the demand that is likely at different UK longitudes as well as the solar input at each longitude, its spectrum according to the mix of direct and diffuse sunlight, and the temperature at each site which can affect the solar cell performance. There is also the less quantifiable fact that the skies are often clearer and cloud-free for longer periods at some times of the year, in the far north of the country.

  In my opinion, the shortest answer is to give you the predicted performance of a 1kW(peak) crystalline silicon solar cell array having 14% conversion efficiency, set at the optimum fixed inclination for any particular latitude, for various UK locations, North to South. This is based on EU data for the solar irradiance:

Lerwick: 724 kWh per year
Inverness: 773 kWh per year
Edinburgh: 802 kWh per year
Manchester: 843 kWh per year
Northampton: 854 kWh per year
Southampton: 931 kWh per year

  This variation indicates that there is indeed a valuable solar resource even in the North of the UK. It is possible that the value of the resource may be much higher when it is considered together with the local demand for energy and the cost of other energy options there.

March 2008

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 19 June 2008