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A world-class trio of British, German and Italian scientists publishes a letter in Nature today (appended), based on a research paper in publication , arguing that renewables could be mobilized far faster than many people realise.
They calculate that the solar component of an all-renewables energy infrastructure could be in place in the UK as soon as 2020, mobilizing solar PV no faster than Germany already has.
They also summarise evidence from Germany showing how peak power prices have been reduced by solar deployments in recent years. On the basis of this, the scientists - Keith Barnham, of the Physics Department at Imperial College London; Kaspar Knorr, of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology, in Kassel, Germany; and Massimo Mazzer of the CNR-IMEM, Parma, Italy – call for a moratorium on the building of new conventional power plants.
This new development comes hot on the heels on an announcement by the Saudi Royal Family that Saudi Arabia anticipates a 100% renewable electricity supply.
Solarcentury’s chairman and CEO welcomed the bullish assessment, and connected it directly to the civil war on energy policy in the UK coalition government. "The calculations by this elite international scientific trio show that the Chancellor's vision of Britain as a 'gas hub' is a dangerous and devisive illusion, and one that risks increasing electricity prices rather than reducing them" said chairman Dr Jeremy Leggett. "Prof Barnham and his colleagues essentially point to a Third Industrial Revolution that can not only stop the world from tipping into ruinous climate change, but brake our slide into austerity-driven social collapse by providing the job-rich fuel for the rebuilding of Britain's economy."
"It is interesting that the paper places so much emphasis on mixed renewables without storage," CEO Frans van den Heuvel observed. "That is fine, but at Solarcentury we believe the future is even more bright. Smart grid innovation, plus new smart storage technologies, could potentially make the Third Industrial Revolution move even faster than Barnham et al say, and Solarcentury for one has a strategy factoring based in part on this aspiration. We hope to be a British flag carrier in the front rank of the this revolution, generating jobs aplenty. Sadly, for obvious reasons not everyone at the British Treasury supports our thinking."
 Preprint version of letter published in Nature Materials.
Lindsey Bredin, Head of PR
Solarcentury is one of Europe's fastest growing and most innovative solar photovoltaics (PV) companies. The most experienced solar energy company in the UK, Solarcentury was founded by Chairman Jeremy Leggett in 1998 to design and supply solar energy solutions for the built environment. The organisation has managed the installation of well over 1,000 solar PV turnkey projects, including some of the UK’s largest solar parks. It has helped over 9,000 homes go solar through its supply of systems to housebuilders and through its network of regional associate installers. Solarcentury, now over 120 staff, is led by CEO Frans van den Heuvel and based in London, with staff in the UK, France, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium Flanders. It is the founding company of the schools initiative Solar4Schools and charity for the developing world, SolarAid. In 2008, 2010& 2011, Solarcentury was named the UK's Fastest Growing Renewable Energy Company by UK's Sunday Times Tech Track 100. In April 2011 it was awarded a Queens Award for Enterprise in innovation. www.solarcentury.com