New EU energy directive shines positive light for solar power as sun-shine energy generates record electricity for Scots ice-cream maker

A Scottish solar power farm
A Scottish solar power farm

The (UK) Solar Trade Association and Solar Power Europe said the new EU deal gives big wins for solar under the EU’s revised Renewable Energy Directive.

The proposals also open the possibility of solar-specific clean power auctions, which the solar industry has been shut out of for three years in the UK.

Crucial details have yet to be published in full, but the new EU measures include;

  • Recognition of the role and rights of prosumers, local Government & community energy
  • The potential to run technology-specific tenders for large-scale solar
  • Simplified & less costly red tape for installing solar power
  • Potential to sell surplus solar power via aggregators, Power Purchase Agreements and peer-to-peer trading and to receive at least the market price
  • Protection from retrospective charges on solar
  • Exemptions on fees on charges for self-consumed solar up to 25kW that remains within the premises, from 2026.

Chris Hewett, chief executive of the STA, commented: “The European Union understands how vital it is to empower everyday people and organisations to invest in solar power. The measures the EU will put into law in 18 months time should give much needed confidence to the UK solar & storage industries that the playing field between small investors and the traditional industry is starting to level.

“We urge the UK Government to follow suit and provide a level playing field for diverse investors in solar power as soon as possible.” 

There was also good news for solar in Scotland as one of the country’s largest sun-power farms is on track to generate its highest amount of electricity in a 12-month period.

Its 7,000-panel solar farm in Aberdeenshire helps ice-cream manufacturer Mackies of Scotland meet its own electricity needs while also exporting power into the national grid.

With a total installed capacity of 1.8MW, the 10-acre site complements Mackie’s four wind turbines (total 3MW), providing peak power in summer when wind levels tend to drop.

In May alone, the solar farm produced 275,000 kilowatt hours – enough power to make the equivalent of around 650,000 litres of ice cream and on one single day (Friday, 25 May).

It has also created enough electricity to supply the equivalent of three homes for an entire year.

When built by Loch Lomond-based Absolute Solar and Wind, the Mackies’ development became Scotland’s largest and first solar farm.

15 Jun 2018

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