Dr Alan Whitehead MP will claim that photovoltaics, the "forgotten renewable" has now become a very viable economic choice for homeowners.
Speaking at the conference dinner of the sixth Photovoltaic Science Application and Technology Conference (PVSAT-6), hosted by the University of Southampton, Dr Whitehead will highlight the fact that the Government's new feed-in tariff (FiT) for photovoltaics which comes into effect on 1 April, will enable homeowners to profit from the installation of photovoltaic solar panels.
"This feed-in tariff will make a major difference to homeowners," Dr Whitehead will say. "Let's say you put solar panels on your roof, you can now expect to claim payments of 40 pence per kilowatt hour for the low carbon electricity you produce. This means that you can pay back your installation costs within a few years."
Dr Whitehead, who had photovoltaic solar panels installed on his own roof, said that he gets a "thin cheque" every year for electricity he sells back to the Grid, but had he waited to install them now, he would stand to claim back four times more.
He will go on to praise the efforts of researchers in this field who are working to make photovoltaics even more efficient.
"The work linking nanotechnology and thin film photovoltaics that is being carried out by Professor Darren Bagnall and his colleagues at the University of Southampton and others will make a big difference to the industry in conjunction with the new financial arrangements," he will say.
PVSAT-6 is hosted by the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science from 24-26 March 2010 at Chilworth Manor at the University of Southampton's Science Park
A full and varied programme is promised. Invited speakers include Wim Sinke, ECN, The Netherlands, Chris Wronski, Pennsylvania State University, Ayodhya Tiwari, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Thomas Hoffman, Centrosolar Glas, Germany, Ray Noble, Renewable Energy Association, Darren Bagnall, University of Southampton and Alan Turner of Solarbuzz.
Event organiser, Professor Darren Bagnall at the University of Southampton's Nano Research Group, said:
"This is an important time for the photovoltaics industry. For a long time solar energy has been an environmentally conscious, but expensive, form of electricity production, but now, it is rapidly approaching the point where it can compete with grid electricity.
"Although great progress has been made in recent years, further cost reductions are on the cards. Increasingly, the application of nanotechnology to photovoltaics will make a big difference, as we find new ways of using nano-scales feature to trap light into ever thinner solar cells, not only increasing efficiency but decreasing cost.
This role of nanotechnology for photovoltaics has recently been acknowledged by the UK National strategy on Nanotechnology."
The University of Southampton has established a leading international position in photovoltaics and is home to the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre, the Optoelectronics Research Centre and the Sustainable Energy Research Group.
Journalists are welcome to attend PVSAT-6 and should visit the website at http://www.pvsat.org.uk/ for more information and contact Hélène Murphy, Media Relations Consultant to the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science to reserve a place at the conference and /or to arrange to interview the speakers.