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Solarcentury reaffirms commitment to UK market with launch of new residential solar system

British designer Wayne Hemingway first to install Sunstation solar system on his roof

Solarcentury has officially launched Sunstation, a new sleek, black solar system that is set for rapid adoption by UK homeowners. Guest of honour at the event in central London was leading British designer Wayne Hemingway, who is the first to install Sunstation in the UK; his Sunstation system has now been powering his home for six months.

Wayne joins 810,000 other UK homeowners who have opted for solar roof systems. DECC’s own data also shows that solar is still the most popular renewable energy technology in the UK. Also, despite the reduced feed-in-tariff subsidy, investing in solar still earns homeowners a considerable 6% tax free return every year for 20 years, and the system can pay for itself within 12-13 years (1).

Sunstation is significantly better looking than other PV systems because it sits in the roof rather than protruding from it like traditional (on-roof) systems. However it is considerably more affordable than other in-roof systems launched to date, largely because it is the first building-integrated module to be manufactured using high levels of automation, rather than assembled by hand. Sunstation’s appeal was highlighted earlier this year when it was recognised for its high design aesthetics by the international jury panel, winning an iF DESIGN AWARD 2016.

Speaking at the launch event, designer Wayne Hemingway MBE of HemingwayDesign, said, “My wife Gerardine and I were convinced about installing Sunstation on our home because of its sleek profile. It is a new generation of solar panel that integrates seamlessly into the roofline. We are fans of timeless, functional, sustainable design so Sunstation appeals to us because it is not “shouty” and will be there to stay for at least the next 25 years generating clean solar electricity. As always, the best designs are those that are easy to use, fit for purpose, attractive, affordable and durable and Sunstation meets all those qualities – we are proud to have it on our roof!”

The launch follows research by Solarcentury last year which found that 86% of homeowners surveyed want new additions to their home to ‘look stylish’. Two thirds (65%) said that if they installed solar panels they’d have to be less visible and not stand out; a third (32%) said it was important what their neighbours think about new additions to their home.

Susannah Wood, Head of Residential Solar at Solarcentury commented, “The global energy transition is well underway and we don’t want the UK to be left behind, which is why we’re as committed as ever to solar in the UK, despite the government curtailing support mechanisms. We want to help the UK meet its carbon reduction commitments and Sunstation is vital to achieving this because it will get more homeowners switched on to solar, still the most popular renewable energy among the British public. Sunstation furthers our mission to make solar attractive and accessible for all; we will keep investing in innovation so that we can offer affordable and great-looking solar for UK homeowners.

It is encouraging that new London mayor Sadiq Khan is keen to expand the use of solar in London and we look forward to working with him to help deliver his new solar strategy. To date, we have installed solar on a wide range of commercial and industrial roofs around London.”

Lisa Nandy, Shadow Energy & Climate Change Secretary said, “Tonight's event highlights the fantastic level of innovation taking place in the UK’s solar industry. Businesses in this sector make an important contribution to our economy, and to solving the energy and climate challenges we face. I will work with Labour councils and Mayors to fight to ensure British solar companies continue to play a key role in helping to build a clean energy future.”

Speaking at the launch event, Callum McCaig MP (SNP Westminster spokesman on Energy and Climate Change) said, "We like to do things differently in Scotland. In contrast to the unnecessary battering that solar and other parts of the renewables sector has endured from the new UK Government, the SNP sees the success of the low carbon economy as absolutely central to our collective future prosperity and security. That's why we'll continue to work closely with the Solar Trade Association to advance our proposals for supporting solar in Scotland, including pushing for greater devolution of feed-in tariff spending and for green energy bonds."

Sunstation is now available to all UK homeowners via Solarcentury’s trusted network of installers. The calculator on the Sunstation website provides instant estimates for the cost of the system and the payback.

Read Wayne's blog about his experience of installing Sunstation.

ENDS

1. A south-facing pitch in central UK with 10% shading. Electricity savings calculations are based on 45% of the solar energy produced being used in the property, typical for the UK (source: DECC). Property has an Energy Performance Certification rating A-D. Installation at a cost of £5,000 for a 3kWp system which is the typical system size in the UK. Feed-in Tariff rates as at April 2016, tariffs paid for 20 years from the point the solar system is accredited. Savings of 16.0p per unit of electricity, at 5% annual inflation (source: DECC Quarterly Energy Prices, 10 year average). Export tariff payments are based on a deemed export of 50%. Profit after cost of installation and includes £20 per annum maintenance costs (index linked). Return being tax-free, with average annual return (IRR) taken over 20 years. Payback being the time taken to recover the initial outlay to the nearest year.

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