By DARA BUTTERFIELD
The Solar Trade Association (STA) today publishes its ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’ blueprint which sets out how the new Government can steer both rooftop solar-generated electricity to parity with retail electricity prices and utility-scale solar farms to parity with new gas CCGT power station prices by 2020.
In the report, the STA considers several different options and recommends the Government adopt a ‘higher ambition’ scenario with a target of 25GW by 2020.
If adopted, this plan would deliver 2.1 million solar homes, 24,000 commercial rooftop and community schemes, 2,300 solar farms and almost 57,000 jobs in the solar power industry supply chain.
Achieving this breakthrough would cost households around £1 per month.
The economic modelling behind the STA plan has been independently verified by experts from Imperial College London, while job estimates were provided by the independent Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Paul Barwell, Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association, said: “Our goal is to secure a strong British solar industry that can beat fossil fuels on price without subsidy – and as quickly as possible.
“If the industry is given the right support in this Parliament, it can deliver clean, affordable power at a stable price to the public and to British businesses in perpetuity.
“Our Solar Independence Plan shows that a carefully structured policy framework would enable Government to greatly increase its ambitions for the UK solar industry for surprisingly little additional cost.
The global solar market is estimated to be worth £3 trillion to 2035 and we want to see British solar firms winning internationally, as well as at home. We very much hope the Secretary of State Amber Rudd and the new Conservative government will get fully behind the extraordinary solar opportunity and adopt this plan.”
The report outlines six changes to existing policy that would double the amount of solar-generated electricity in 2020 – from 10TWh under DECC’s Solar PV Strategy to 21TWh under the STA’s Higher Ambition scenario.
This would bring solar to a total of 6.9% of UK electricity demand in 2020 as opposed to the 3.4% as per the government’s current plan.
The STA’s recommended policy steps include adjusting the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) in the forthcoming review to allow more growth and gradually bring tariffs for new installations down to zero by 2020. The STA is also seeking to ensure the Renewables Obligation is safeguarded for big rooftops and smaller solar farms until March 2017, and that barriers to the grid are addressed decisively.