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Important aspects – the new UK Solar PV Strategy – Part 3

A closer look at the Principles outlined in Part 1: Principles Three and Four.

In Part 1 and Part 2 we looked at the general outline of the objectives laid out by the Government for solar in the UK between now and 2020 and the first two principles from the solar PV strategy. This blog looks at the last two principles, why each one is important and what the next steps are to achieve the goals outlined in the strategy. The government has very ambitious goals for solar in the UK with the hope of achieving 15% renewable energy by 2020. Here are the final two principles of the Solar PV strategy and the steps the UK needs to take to become a decarbonised society.

Principle Three: Support for solar PV should ensure proposals are appropriately sited, give proper weight to environmental considerations such as landscape and visual impact, heritage and local amenity and provide opportunities for local communities to influence decisions that affect them.


So far solar is popular. The public has voted it the highest rating of all renewable energy technologies at 85 per cent. However this is because the Government has pinpointed the importance of placement. Solar needs to be appropriately placed to keep the public opinion high. It is important that each project is dealt with individually and the circumstance of each project is taken into account. The last thing the solar industry needs to a scandal because solar was installed on an area of natural beauty or and area of scientific interest. If well planned and well managed, each solar project has the potential to be a success.

What is already happening to manage sites for solar?

There are planning regimes in place right now in the UK that include vigorous safeguards to ensure that solar developments are correctly sited and that individuals, communities and the landscape are protected from visual, land and environmental impacts. In July 2013 the Department for Communities and Local Government published a revised planning guidance for renewable energy developments. Planners are provided with more specific guidance on issues they should consider in relation to larger-scale solar PV planning applications. There is also a lot of increased media surrounding the installation of solar in favour of the sustainable developments.

Next steps?

The next steps in solar is negotiating how to work with developers, local communities and environmental groups to develop large and medium scale arrays. A best code of practice will be issued along with principles for the development of community schemes. There will also be movement towards improving deployment in business and industrial sectors opening up opportunities to develop solar on rooftops, government estates and homes.

Principle Four: Support for solar PV should assess and respond to the impacts of deployment on: grid systems balancing, grid connectivity and financial incentives.

Why important?

This principle is important because it ensures that the UK can integrate solar into the electricity system and market as well as maintain a secure and cost-effective balance of the UK electricity system. It will make sure that solar will have a timely and affordable grid access and ensure that there is value for money through financial incentives.

What has happened so far?

The National grid has published their Solar Briefing Note in December 2012 outlining that above 10GW of solar PV deployment would make managing the grid more challenging. They have been working with the DECC to address this issue. They have since said that 10GW is manageable but higher than this would be challenging.

What are the next steps?

The Grid and Networks Task Force, chaired by the National Grid, is working in conjunction with the Electricity Network Association, Distribution Network Operators, technology experts and developers to create better access and integration into the electricity transmission and distribution networks. They will work on:

  • Explore ways to manage the grid system with increasing levels of solar PV.
  • Continue to balance the supply and demand.
  • DECC’s Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition.
  • Produce quick guides to solar PV financing for developers and installers.
  • Identify ways to reduce the risk for building owners of roof mounted PV.
  • Develop legal and financial frameworks to allow improved financing of building mounted schemes.

Are you considering making the switch to solar? Is this strategy making you more confident or less? Do you want to wait a few years until it is more main stream instead of leading the way? Tell us below or connect with us on Facebook and/or Twitter

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