Glass and plastic component manufacturer, Romag who specialize in the production of units to be used in photovoltaic technology have developed a product designed to recharge electric vehicles in public spaces using solar panels. The ‘PowerPark’ facilities will be located in areas such as supermarkets, petrol stations, schools, offices and airports and will generate enough electricity via their PV canopies to both charge electric vehicles and feed energy in to the national grid.
PowerPark, which is set to be rolled out first in the North East and then the rest of the UK has already secured a contract with OneNE, a regional development agency created to help projects such as this in the North East of England. The regional development agency will also help Romag to set up the UK’s first photovoltaic training and development park, in the hope that it will see the development of other renewable projects which will help contribute to the general move away from fossil fuels in the UK.
Although as yet, electric cars have failed to enter the national consciousness the industry hopes that in the next few years, based on the provisions set out both in the Energy Bill land by the newly created Environment and Climate Change Department, they will become much more popular after 2010. Many commercial renewable manufacturers such as Romag are also hopeful that the feed-in tariff (FIT) which is to be introduced next year will help them by offering them a fixed rate for the megawatts they feed-in to the national grid via their PV canopies. As has been practiced successfully in places such as Germany, the tariff helps manufacturers and investors alike as their revenue streams are protected by the rate paid for the megawatts by the energy companies. The additional costs incurred by the power companies in purchasing the expensive renewable energy are spread across the consumers in their monthly bills.
There are hundreds of businesses in the UK which, like Romag will be hoping that the government’s feed-in tariff is sufficient to spur the renewable industry in the UK the same way it has done elsewhere, in particular in Germany where tariffs have been highly successful in promoting investment in photovoltaic plant.