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Narec (National Renewable Energy Centre)
Type Not for Profit
Industry Renewable Energy
Energy Efficiency
Founded 2002
Founders One North East
Headquarters Blyth, UK
Key people Andrew Mill (CEO)
Services Prototype Development
Energy Consultancy
Subsidiaries Narec Development Services Limited (NDSL)
Narec Capital
Narec Solar
Narec Distributed Energy
Narec Capital Risk Solutions

Narec (National Renewable Energy Centre) is a UK centre for renewable energy and low carbon technologies. The centre develops prototypes, tests renewable devices to international standards, and is involved in installing low carbon technologies. It is very similar to other centres, such as NREL in the US[1] and National Centre for Renewable Energies (CENER) in Spain. Narec is based in Blyth, Northumberland.


  • History 1
  • Operations 2
    • Narec 2.1
      • Offshore Wind 2.1.1
      • Marine Renewables 2.1.2
      • Electrical Networks 2.1.3
    • Narec Distributed Energy 2.2
      • Energy Strategies 2.2.1
      • Training 2.2.2
      • Low Carbon Transport 2.2.3
      • Small Scale Wind Testing 2.2.4
      • Heat Pumps 2.2.5
      • Low Carbon Housing 2.2.6
    • Narec Solar 2.3
      • Photovoltaics 2.3.1
  • Closed Facilities 3
    • Clothier High Voltage Laboratory 3.1
  • Current facilities 4
    • Photovoltaic Technology Centre 4.1
    • Charles Parsons Technology Centre 4.2
    • Training Centre 4.3
    • Training Tower 4.4
    • Dry Docks 4.5
    • Tidal Testing Facility 4.6
    • Wave Flume 4.7
    • Blade Test I 4.8
  • European Funded Research 5
  • Conferences and Papers 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Originally known as NaREC (New and Renewable Energy Centre), the centre was created in 2002 by

  • National Renewable Energy Centre
  • Narec Distributed Energy
  • Narec Solar
  • Narec Capital
  • Explore Renewables
  • Microrenewables Toolkit
  • Narec Renewable Energy Training

External links

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  • First results on the APOLLON project multi-approach for high efficiency integrated and intelligent concentrating PV modules (systems)[97]
  • Technological and Financial Aspects of Laser Grooved Buried Contact Silicon Solar Cell Based Concentrator Systems[96]
  • Process and device modelling for enhancement of silicon solar cell efficiency[95]
  • A summary of the Havemor project – Process development of shaped and coloured solar cells for BIPV applications[94]
  • Process development of shape and colour in LGBC solar cells for BIPV applications[93]
  • Environmental sustainability of concentrator PV systems: Preliminary LCA results of the APOLLON project[92]
  • Front Dicing Technique for Pre-isolation of Concentrator Silicon Solar Cells[91]
  • PC1D modelling of the efficiency of laser grooved buried contact solar cells designed for use at concentration factors up to 100X[90]
  • Laser Grooved Buried Contact Concentrator Cells[89]
  • Front contact modelling of monocrystaline silicon laser grooved buried contact solar cells[88]
  • Development of Laser Grooved Buried Contact Solar Cells for Use at Concentration Factors up to 100X[87]
  • Design and Optimisation of Laser Grooved Buried Contact Solar Cells for Use At Concentration Factors Up To 100X[86]
  • Device Design and Process Optimisation for LGBC Solar Cells for Use Between 50X and 100X Concentration[85]
  • Laser Grooved Buried Contact Solar Cells for Concentration Factors up to 100X[84]
  • Optimisation of the front contact for low to medium concentrations in LGBC silicon solar cells[83]
  • Surface passivation by silicon nitride in Laser Grooved Buried Contact (LGBC) silicon solar cells[82]
  • Screen printing in laser grooved buried contact solar cells: The LAB2LINE hybrid processes[81]
  • Integrated process and device 'TCAD' for enhancement of C-Si solar cell efficiency[80]
  • The LAB2LINE laser grooved buried contact screen printed solar cells hybrid p-type monocrystaline process[79]
  • Development of Laser Fired Contact (LFC) Rear Passivated Laser Groove Buried Contact (LGBC) Solar Cells Using Thin Wafers[78]
  • Progress of the LAB2LINE Laser Grooved Buried Contact Screen Printed Solar Cells Hybrid p-type Monocrystalline Process[77]
  • Fine-Line Screen Printing in Large Area Laser Grooved, Buried Contact Silicon Solar Cells[76]
  • Colour and Shape in Laser Grooved Buried Contact Solar Cells for Applications in the Built Environment[75]
  • Process optimisation for coloured laser grooved buried contact solar cells[74]
  • Process Development of Coloured LGBC Solar Cells for BIPV Applications[71]
  • Investigation of cross wafer uniformity of production line produced LGBC concentrator solar cells[73]
  • Studying the Groove Profiles Produced for Fine Line Screen Printed Front Contacts in Laser Grooved Buried Contact Solar Cells.[72]
  • Laser Grooved Buried Contact Concentrator Solar Cells[71]
  • Low Cost, 100X point focus silicon concentrator cells made by the LGBC process[70]
  • Study on laser parameters for silicon solar cells with LCP selective emitters[32]
  • Lightning Arresters and Substation Protection[69]
  • An intelligent approach to the condition monitoring of large scale wind turbines[68]
  • Process and device modelling for enhancement of silicon solar cell efficiency[67]
  • LGBC Silicon Solar Cell with modified bus bar suitable for high volume wire bonding[66]
  • Ensuring Reliability for Marine Renewable Drive Train Systems – Nautilus Testing Facilities[65]
  • Electrical Network Testing & Simulation: An effective method of testing the fault ride through capabilities of Small Scale Distributed Generation[64]
  • Accelerating Technology Development for Round 3 Offshore Deployment.[63]
  • Ensuring Reliability for Offshore Wind - Large Testing Facilities.[62]
  • Fatigue testing of wind turbine blades with computational verification.[61]
  • Experimental tests of an air-cored PM tubular generator for direct drive wave energy converters[60]
  • Bivariate empirical mode decomposition and its contribution to wind turbine condition monitoring[59]
  • Marine Renewables: A Development Route Map for the UK[58]
  • Availability and Estimation of Marine Renewable Energy Resources[57]
  • “Snapper”. An efficient and compact direct electric power take-off device for wave energy converters.[56]

Narec staff have written papers which have appeared in journals and international energy conferences. These are mainly in the subjects of photovoltaics, wind, marine, and electrical infrastructure. A short list of some of these is given below:

Conferences and Papers

Short Name Full Name Technology Total European Funding for Whole Consortium
LAB2LINE From the laboratory to the production Line[48] photovoltaics €1.27 million
APOLLON Multi-approach for high efficiency integrated and intelligent concentrating PV modules (systems)[48] photovoltaics €9 million
20PLμS 20 percent efficiency on less than 100 µm thick industrially feasible c-Si solar cells[49] photovoltaics €8.26 million
MARINET Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network for Emerging Energy Technologies[50] Wind, Wave and Tidal €4.88 million
SNAPPER The development of a novel rare-earth magnet based wave power conversion system - Snapper[51] Wave €1.39 million
INTESUSAL Demonstration of integrated and sustainable enclosed raceway and photobioreactor microalgae cultivation with biodiesel production and validation[52] Algae Biofuels €5 million
HIPRWIND High Power, high Reliability offshore wind technology[53] Offshore Wind €11.02 million
INOMANS²HIP INOvative Energy MANagement System for Cargo SHIP[54] photovoltaics and wind €2.18 million
ASPIS Active solar panel initiative[55] Photovoltaics €2.88 million
Total €45.88 million

Narec is involved in a number of European Collaborative Seventh Framework Programme projects, the majority of which are photovoltaic technology based. These are either match funded or 75% funded, with the rest of Narec's finance coming from Narec itself. The projects are:

European Funded Research

The blade testing facilities at Narec are designed to test wind turbine blades up to 50m in length. Blades are tested using a Compact Resonant Mass (CRM) system. Narec is working on a technique of blade testing known as "Dual Axis".

Blade Test I

A simulated wave environment for the testing of prototype wave energy generation devices.[47]

Wave Flume

The Tees Barrage Tidal Turbine Test Facility, Located in Stockton, was opened in 2007. Narec claimed to be the only independent large scale tidal testing facility for device prototypes in Europe.[46]

Tidal Testing Facility

Narec tests marine devices with three modified dry docks.[45]

Dry Docks

This is a 27m high tower, for training of offshore wind technicians.[44]

Training Tower

The Training Centre is a retrofitted 19th Century terraced house. The technologies retroffitted on are; internal insulation cladding, photovoltaics, solar thermal panel, a heat pump and low energy LED lights. The centre is used to train installers for these technologies.[43]

Training Centre

Built in 2004, this £5m facility contains a low voltage electrical laboratory for the testing of connecting renewable energy systems to the transmission and distribution grid.[41] Some of the equipment and staff from the closed Narec Clothier Electrical Testing Laboratory were moved to this facility[42]

Charles Parsons Technology Centre

These are: ASPIS - A project based on a novel Parallactic Tracking technology concept that supports flat, fixed solar panels with internal concentration and dynamic suntracking.[38] APOLLON - A project to develop High Concentration Point Focus and Dense Array Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) systems based on monolithic and discrete multijunction technology with a final target cost of 2 €/Wp.[39] 20plus - A project for the development of extra thin silicon solar cells.[40]

Narec's Photovoltaic Technology Centre (PVTC) was created when Narec took over BP Solar's staff and assets. It has now become Solar Capture Technologies Ltd., which is an independent company to Narec[37] PVTC has taken part in a number of large European Seventh Framework Programme projects.

Photovoltaic Technology Centre

Current facilities

Many parts of the lab were relocated to Narec's main campus in Blyth. The ruins of the original lab are now the property of Siemens.[36]

Although one of the only high voltage testing facilities in the world, and completely unique in the UK, the facility was closed by Narec in 2011 due to a lack of government funding.[35]

[34] The

Clothier High Voltage Laboratory

Closed Facilities

  • Combining Laser Chemical Processing and Aerosol Jet Printing: an industrially relevant high efficiency front side for silicon solar cells.[33]
  • Study on laser parameters for silicon solar cells with LCP selective emitters.[32]
  • Process and device modelling for enhancement of silicon solar cell efficiency.[31]
  • LGBC Silicon Solar Cell with modified bus bar suitable for high volume wire bonding[30]

Published papers on photovoltaics include:

Narec Solar carried out a large amount of research using their Photovoltaic Technology Centre (PVTC). The majority of research was based around laser grooved silicon cells and concentrator photovoltaics, with additional work on coloured photovoltaic cells.[29] As well as being involved in public funded research and development Narec Solar manufactured silicon based concentrator cells, niche modules and also carried out private industrial research and development. One area of specilisation was in copper plating of silicon solar cells.

Narec Solar was the photovoltaic division of Narec, it was sold in April 2013 and continues to operate as the independent company Solar Capture Technologies.[28]


Narec Solar

Narec Distributed Energy helped design and worked on the energy strategy of the Reed Street Carbon Negative development of 21 dwellings in South Shields.[27]

Low Carbon Housing

There is currently a research project with Northumbria University and Narec collaborating to design a new methodology to test heat pumps.[26]

Heat Pumps

Narec Distributed Energy carry out testing of small wind turbines, in accordance with IEC 61400-25, and in 2010 accredited Evoco's 10 kW system.[25]

Small Scale Wind Testing

Narec Distributed Energy are part of a project looking at low carbon solutions for cargo ships known as Inomanship.[24]

Narec Distributed Energy have been involved in the North East Plugged in Places project, which has resulted in a large number of electric vehicle charging posts being installed in North East England.[22] Additionally, Narec Distributed Energy has been trialling the CUE-V electric car.[23]

Low Carbon Transport

Also, Narec Distributed Energy have now started carrying out training for offshore wind technicians.[21]

Narec Distributed Energy run accredited installer and designer courses for photovoltaics, solar thermal and air source heat pumps systems.[19] Narec is a cluster partner of the North East England hub for the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies.[20]


Narec Distributed Energy work with local authorities to design and carry out energy strategies. They have also released tools, such as the Microrenewables Toolkit, which can be downloaded from the company's website.[18]

Energy Strategies

Narec Distributed Energy

In Narec's high voltage testing. Work involved carrying out comprehensive testing and analysis services for transmission network operators, distribution network operators and manufacturers of electrical power equipment and accessories. Customers included National Grid plc.[16] Although Clothier is now closed some of these capabilities are now based in Blyth.[17]

Electrical Networks

Narec carry out small scale testing of marine renewable devices, such as the wave device Trident[14] and the tidal device Evopod.[15] New marine testing facilities are currently under construction.

Marine Renewables

[13][12][11][10] Narec are involved in blade testing for

Offshore Wind


Narec and its associated companies are involved in the following sectors:


Narec Capital Risk Solutions - Beyond its existence, there is very little information on what this organisation does.[6]

Narec Capital - A financial organisation run by Narec and Ashberg Limited.[9]

Narec Solar - 8% owned by Narec, and 92% owned by the Swedish firm Absolicon. This organisation is focused on silicon photovoltaic cells[6][7][8]

Narec Distributed Energy - An organisation which deals with microrenewables, energy efficiency, low carbon transport and city wide energy planning.[5] Narec Distributed Energy is 100% owned by Narec.

Since 2010 due to UK government cutbacks Narec has closed, sold off or separated different parts of the business. Now, Narec itself concentrates on testing blades and drive trains for marine renewables. The surviving other related parts of Narec are:

  • Wind (onshore and offshore)
  • Transmission and distribution
  • Photovoltaics
  • Oil and gas
  • Marine renewables
  • Fuel cells
  • Microrenewables
  • Biomass[4]

The organisation was originally involved in a wide range of technologies, including:


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