Britain’s solar industry has urged the Department of business, energy and industrial strategy to target and support 40GW of solar power by the end of the decade, tripling Britain’s present 13.5GW capacity.
Writing to energy secretary of state Alok Sharma, the Solar Trade Association outlined a wish list comprising:
- Half-yearly Contracts for Difference auctions, with solar and onshore wind competing in a revised Pot 1 of mature technologies, with “sufficient budget” and without a capacity cap
- Scrapping business rates on commercial roofs fitted with panels or batteries
- Simplifying complex VAT rules obstructing generation and storage
- Honouring government goals outlined in the Future Homes Standard for energy efficiency and innovation
“Now is the time for the Government to commit to action,” said STA chief executive, Chris Hewett.
“Unleashing the UK’s solar potential would rapidly create thousands of skilled jobs across the country. Our industry can help to spread the green recovery from Land’s End to John O’Groats”.
Over the 24 hours of Sunday 24 May, solar met 11 per cent of UK grid demand, a new daily record. A month earlier on 20 April over lunchtime, it briefly approached 30 per cent.
40GW of solar by 2030, says the STA, is a stepping stone towards the 54GW of solar which the Committee on Climate Change states Britain will need by 2035.
Powering every public building exclusively with renewables, either on-site or via PPAs, is a longer term STA goal. Ministers should revive the target abandoned in 2014 to have 1GW of solar installed on central government’s buildings, it suggests.
From ground-mounted farms to sole-trader home installers, the STA proposals quantify how much gross value added (GVA) different forms of solar add to the economy, in terms of new jobs.
Home solar instals plummeted 77 per cent month on month in March’s lockdown. Yesterday the Microgeneration Certification Scheme reported a tentative 37 per cent rebound. But big developers report this year’s pipeline of shovel-ready new farms over 10MW stands at a record 8GW.
Details of the STA’s proposals here.