UK homes could be powered by imported solar energy from North Africa under an ambitious renewable energy initiative, BBC News has learnt.

The TuNur project in Tunisia would see 2GW of solar power exported to the UK to power up to 2.5 million households.

The consortium of companies involved – British renewables investor Low Carbon, developer Nur Energie, and Tunisian investors – involved says they have already spent 10 million euros developing the site.

The company set up to manage the project is now seeking investment from the UK government under new rules released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change in the middle of the year that allow developers to non-UK developers to bid for contracts that guarantee subsidies to supply power, stated the BBC report.

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Using concentrated solar power technology, the plan would involve building an undersea cable to Italy to connect to the European grid.

Legislation has also been passed in the Tunisian parliament to facilitate the export of the energy, and an agreement has been reached with the Italian network operator to connect a dedicated undersea cable to a substation near Rome.

Commenting on the prokect, Kevin Sara, chief executive of TuNur told BBC News:”This is not a back-of-the-envelope fantasy.

“We are working with some of the largest engineering firms in the world. This is a serious project. Yes, it is risky like any big energy project is risky.

“But there is nothing new about moving energy from North Africa to Europe.

The company involved says its electricity supplies will be secure, and 20% cheaper than home-grown sources, such as offshore wind.