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Tuesday, 28 July 2015 12:41

20th birthday house party at UK's first pioneering solar roof

A 20th birthday celebration has taken place at Professor Sue Roaf's pioneering Oxford house - the first in the UK to host a domestic photovoltaic installation.

1st uk solar roof 20yr birthday copyA host of influential environmental figures joined together to champion the achievements of the Oxford Ecohome on Blandford Avenue, which started the domestic solar power revolution two decades ago in July 1995.

The event included speakers such as Sir Crispin Tickell, the British diplomat, environmentalist and academic, and Doug Parr the Chief Scientist from Greenpeace.

Prof. Sue Roaf said: "Today Britain has nearly a million solar roofs out of 25 million homes. I am very proud to have been part of a movement to place Oxford at the heart of the solar revolution over the last 20 years. It will be great to celebrate this achievement with all of the people that have helped make solar power an major part of future sustainable energy plans for the UK."

The event, sponsored by Opus Energy, showcased the opportunities available for businesses in using solar power to generate revenue.

Tom Hoines, head of Renewable Sales at Opus Energy, says: "Supporting this celebration and the great work that Oxford Ecohome owner, Professor Sue Roaf has done in championing 20 years of the domestic use of solar PV will highlight the possibilities provided by renewable sources of energy."

The use of solar panels as a renewable generation power source has grown rapidly since the first domestic installation on the Oxford Ecohome, becoming a mainstream power source. According to the DECC Solar photovoltaics deployment report, at the end of May 2015 overall UK solar capacity stood at 7,265mW across 709,550 installations – 42 per cent of this capacity is from domestic installations. And from the final quarter of 2014 to the end of the first quarter in 2015 capacity soared by 25 per cent (1,285 MW).

Professor Sue Roaf, the Heriot-Watt Low Carbon Building design specialist, designed and built the eco-house for herself in North Oxford despite facing opposition from the energy industry at the time and being told by the Government that it would never work; "because there is not enough sunshine in Britain".

The solar panels are still generating electricity and hot water and generate enough heat and electricity to ensure that the six bedroom home has one of the lowest carbon footprints for any building in Britain.

Sue Roaf commented on the 20th anniversary: "A lot of people told me it would never work here - but look at Britain now."

Professor Susan Roaf - Wikipedia

'Ecohouse' book by Susan Roaf
Heriot-Watt University tribute to Sue Roaf
Opus Energy