The government’s solar think tank, the Government Industry Photovoltaic Group, has produced its first report, which recommends that PV be employed in the UK by means of a grant programme to support the installation of solar PV arrays on some 70 000 domestic properties and several hundred non domestic buildings, and calls for grid connection to be made more simple and accessible.

In response Peter Hain, the energy minister, has announced the allocation of £10 million over the next three years for PV research, part of a £260 million renewables support programme and the first phase in a programme intended to stimulate the UK market and rival the Japanese 70 000 roofs programme and the German 100 000 roofs programme. The Department of Trade and Industry sees the future global solar market as vast, and, quite apart from green issues, sees it as an opportunity for British industry to compete with Japan and Germany as a major player.