“Share Britain’s solar roadmap by October, then stick to it”, PV chiefs urge new government


Britain’s solar industry is calling for more ambition and greater consistency from the nation’s new government after 4 July.

Included in its electoral demands issued today, trade body SolarEnergyUK says a new administration should establish and share its roadmap for solar generation within 100 days of taking office.

Britain needs in short a government that fully embraces solar “so we can reap the benefits for our economy, people and environment”, in the words of chief  executive Chris Hewett, pictured.

Rescued from limbo, the body believes, must be 15 months of detailed output from an industry-government Solar Taskforce, convened in spring 2023.  With an initial brief to speed more arrays on commercial roofs, the taskforce’s remit quickly expanded to cover detailed work in areas such as developing solar’s UK supply chain & better trade skills.

Confusion was thrown on the Taskforce’s work first by the resignation of energy minister Graham Stuart in April, then by Sunak’s surprise election call last month.

As next year dawns,  the UK will have about 20GW of solar generation capacity in place, supplemented by 8GW of big batteries.  By 2030, Britain needs 50GW of solar , plus 30GW of zero-carbon energy storage, the lobbying group believes.

Those numbers are in line both with the Sunak administration’s target of 70GW of generating PV arrays  by 2035 and the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation of 60GW of short-term flex by 2035.

According to SolarEnergyUK’s manifesto, steps to deliver them must include ;

Embracing UK solar

Private investors including from overseas are willing to fund  UK solar and storage at all scales, the group believes. But deterrents persist, which only government leadership can remove.

Resolving Britain’s inconsistent planning regime is among them, as is joined-up thinking on too-fragmented current relationships between energy security, food security and restoring nature.

“We do not have to choose one over the other,” says the manifesto.

Consistency in planning decisions is also key.   Officials Failing to respect established national policy has led to more refusals for solar being overturned more than any other kind of development, wasting private and public money, and needlessly extending the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Rooftop solar power is hugely popular, the PV advocates claim. Over 1.5m small  solar installations sit on homes, businesses and community buildings, almost half of them installed after the end of subsidies in 2019.

But poor households, and community activists investing in solar on local public buildings & schools look to be missing out at present, says SEUK.

Building standards need urgent overhaul, and peer-to-peer energy trading must be enabled to allow schools, community projects and businesses to buy and sell power locally.

Congested distribution & transmission networks mean solar farms are built quickly but languish for far longer as they wait for a grid connection. The effect is to delay ground-mounted and roof-mounted commercial arrays, as well as grid-facing batteries.  Without radical improvements, Net Zero by 2035 could be in danger, the blueprint warns.

Ofgem must solving this problem by improving service from grid operators, including by compelling them to release data on local usage and upgrades.

The skills needed for British green jobs is another topic requiring immediate attention by  D-ESNZ chiefs.

Renewables is the engine for a decade-long jobs boom.   But the route to a just transition which retrains workers mid-career or brings on school-leavers is not as clear as it should be

Incoming ministers should work with solar practitioners, says SEUK,  setting up with a chain of regional training centres to promote career opportunities.

While it’s probably not economic to make solar arrays in Britain, SolarEnergyUK says there’s a case for Whitehall to foster manufacturing of switchgear, cabling, batteries and mounting systems.

On inward investment, the manifesto warns Britain must not fall in attractiveness behind the EU, US, China, India and other emerging supplier nations. Ensuring that solar and energy storage has a level playing field with other energy technologies overseas is essential, says the document.

Effective incentives must exist to spur new solar installation at utility scale, it goes on. Over 11GW of solar capacity is approved and awaiting construction. But the Allocation Round 6 of the Contracts for Difference reverse auctions will see less than 2GW of that total built, putting targets at risk.

The next government should also ensure that the Electricity Generator Levy, the Capacity Market, Balancing Mechanisms and the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) attracts investment in clean energy, with storage and flexibility to provide backup.

Read SolarEnergyUK’s manifesto here.


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