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The new UK Solar PV Strategy – Part 1

This year is off to a great start for solar in the UK. We launched the first dedicated solar strategy on April 4 2014 which is designed to enact a ‘further step change in deployment’ for solar in the UK. It is the first document of its kind to be released by any European government, confirming that there has been an amazing growth in the UK PV sector during the last few years. This blog looks into the details of the solar strategy and gives you a summary of the things you need to know from the new document.

The strategy places particular weight on boosting the placement of rooftop solar, particularly the underperforming commercial-scale sector. It also shows that the government is targeting one million solar homes by 2015 – this is quite a goal. Let’s look further into the strategy.

What is Solar PV?

Solar PV is one of the 8 key renewable energy technologies that can help to create a well-balanced clean energy mix in the UK. The advantages of Solar PV is that it is versatile, scalable and can be placed in several different locations including domestic and commercial buildings and the ground. Solar installation is fast and the fuel is free!

What space does the UK have for Solar and what is the price?

The UK has an abundance of space for solar and the price of installation has fallen by 50% between 2010 and 2012. As with any industry, further reductions rely on growth in the solar sector and the ability for the solar technology to level the costs in competitive position with other low-carbon electricity sources.

What is the government’s aim with Solar PV?

The UK already has 2.4 GW of installed solar which generated 1.4TWh between July 2012 to June 2013. The Government plans to increase the installation of solar across the UK and believes solar has a lot of potential to help the UK meet the target of 15% renewable energy by 2020 and the eventual decarbonisation of the UK economy in the long term.

What does the public in the UK think?

Solar is becoming much more obvious around the country and it is one of the most popular of the renewable energy technologies. The solar strategy states that solar got the highest public approval rating of all renewable energy technologies at 85%. The Government pointed out in the solar strategy that, to keep Solar in the public favour like this, each solar project needs to be appropriately placed with community involvement. The report does suggest that solar installations will continue on all levels.

Why now?

Renewable energy is a hot topic right now and it is a good time for the government to pave the way into the future of solar in the UK. The report claims that the government wants to make sure the ‘policies support the appropriate deployment in a sustainable, cost-effective way.’ There needs to be a general feeling of trust for solar with investors, businesses, developers, communities and homes.

What are the principles of the Government’s Solar Strategy?

The principles outlined in the Roadmap are:

  • “Principle One: Support for solar PV should allow cost-effective projects to proceed and to make a cost-effective contribution to UK carbon emission objectives in the context of overall energy goals. Solar PV should work alongside other energy generation technologies to deliver carbon reductions, energy security and affordability.
  • Principle Two: Support for solar PV should deliver genuine carbon reductions that help the UK to meet the target of 15% renewable energy from final consumption by 2020.
  • 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.
  • Principle Four: Support for solar PV should assess and respond to the impacts of deployment on: grid systems balancing, grid connectivity and financial incentives.”

Read our second blog on the solar strategy to find out more about the future of solar in the UK.

Have you thought about installing solar or have you already installed solar? Are you happy with the result? Have you noticed more solar popping up in your area? 

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