Energy company npower is planning to launch a solar energy product later this year, marking its second foray into the renewable energy market.
The product is understood to be a first for the consumer energy market. Last year it teamed up with Greenpeace to launch Juice, an ethical electricity product for consumers generated from wind and water (MW August 2, 2001).
The gas and electricity retailer is understood to be close to forming a partnership with Solar Century – a company that designs, installs and maintains tailor-made solar systems – to develop the new solar product. It is not known how npower is planning to promote the product.
Other energy suppliers, such as London Electricity, have set up green energy funds that are being used to build renewable energy schemes, such as solar panels. The consumers signed to the green funds pay a premium tariff that is then used to fund the renewable energy initiatives.
In April this year, the Government launched the Renewables Obligation Scheme, according to which British power suppliers must, by April 2003, have bought three per cent of the power they sold to customers in the previous year from renewable sources, or pay a £30 penalty for each megawatt-hour they fall short by. This requirement will rise to 10.4 per cent by 2011.
Innogy, npower’s parent company, was recently bought by German utility company RWE in a deal worth £3.1bn.