- Solar Energy UK’s latest report calls on the UK government to set 40 GW solar power capacity deployment target by 2030
- It has suggested a number of policy reforms that can help the country reach the goal to meet its net zero ambitions
- Report claims the call is backed by all major energy industry trade associations and a coalition of climate NGOs
UK PV lobby association Solar Energy UK has once again stressed the government should set its eyes on achieving at least 40 GW of solar energy capacity deployment by 2030—a target it believes is achievable—for the country to become a net zero economy by 2050.
It had first called on the government for the 40 GW target in June 2020 when it was known as UK Solar Trade Association, basing the call on Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to the administration for 54 GW solar by 2035 (see STA Calls For 40 GW Solar Target For UK By 2030). The association says the target is now backed by all major energy industry trade associations and a coalition of climate NGOs.
In a new report Lighting the way making net zero a reality with solar energy, Solar Energy UK explains that the country currently has more than 14 GW of solar generation capacity installed, with 663 MW added between April 2020 and March 2021.
The cumulative capacity of utility scale projects adds up to 9.3 GW, and close to 17 GW in the development pipeline. Till the end of 2020, commercial solar projects are estimated to represent 1.9 GW capacity, including 147 MW installed in 2020. During the same time, there were more than 2.8 GW residential solar projects installed across the country with average system size of 1.9 kW. In 2020, it believes this segment to have added around 70 MW.
The report has modelled potential trajectories of solar power capacity in the UK on a cumulative basis under the following 4 scenarios until 2030:
- Business as usual (BAU): 28.6 GW
- Low Ambition: 31.5 GW
- Moderate Ambition: 34.9 GW
- Net Zero: 40 GW
The report stresses ‘under the right circumstances’ it is possible for the UK to achieve 40 GW suggested PV target by 2030, of which 10% can be deployed in Scotland alone. It spells out these circumstances as a number of recommended policy reforms as a ‘roadmap’ for how the government can accelerate the deployment of solar to achieve the objectives.
Among these recommendations is to have solar power technology to participate in renewable energy auctions every year till 2030, beginning from Allocation Round 5 (AR5). Planning processes should maximize deployment from existing solar projects, solar should be treated the same way as other power generation technologies, incentivizing investment in solar through long term tax credits, solar and battery storage technologies to be zero-rated under VAT, among other suggestions.
“More than 1GW of solar has been deployed since the formal end of government support in 2019, and there remains significant growth potential,” reads the report. “However, significant barriers remain, and accelerating solar deployment to meet the needs of a net zero economy will require leadership and ambition on the part of government, alongside clear onshore renewable energy targets.”
The report is available for free download on Solar Energy UK’s website.