17th October 2013
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is one of the eight key renewable energy technologies put forward by the Government as part of the solution to create a clean, balanced UK energy mix. Solar projects can be developed and installed very quickly, and the fuel (solar radiation) is free. Recently, solar received the highest public approval rating of all renewable energy technologies at 85 per cent. The Government wants to make sure that its policies support the appropriate future deployment in a sustainable, cost-effective way.
Solar PV currently accounts for 12 per cent of renewable electricity capacity in the UK, and 2.9 per cent of renewable electricity generation. The UK has deployed almost 2.5GW of solar and installed solar PV on nearly half a million homes as well as thousands of businesses and community sites. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) central forecast estimates that the UK is likely to reach 10GW by 2020. Greg Barker (the Minister for Energy and Climate Change) has restated his personal ambition for the deployment of 20GW within the next decade, and National Grid recently concluded that the current network could support 10GW of solar PV capacity without the need for significant change to the way that the grid is managed.
A framework of policies is already in place to drive investment in solar PV in the UK at a wide range of sizes, and in a wide range of locations, and the Government has increased its strategic focus on the solar PV industry as deployment has progressed. Given the increasing deployment of solar in the UK, the Government feels that the time is right for it to set out its vision of the strategic direction for solar PV in the UK.
DECC published its: “UK Solar PV Strategy Part 1: Roadmap to a Brighter Future” (the Roadmap) on 8 October 2013. This Roadmap details the Government’s vision of the strategic direction for solar PV in the UK and sets out four guiding principles, which form the basis of that strategy. These principles are that support for solar PV should:
The Roadmap identifies what has been done to date and where further work is needed.
The Roadmap details a number of next steps against each of the four principles mentioned above.
In addition, the Government recognises the importance of setting future policy direction and so the Roadmap forms the first element of a two-part strategy process. The second part will be a full strategy document, to be published in spring 2014, further exploring the actions that will have to be taken by Government and the solar sector to maximise the sustainable, affordable deployment of solar PV in the UK.
As part of that strategy document, DECC will report on the outputs of the work set out in this document, including the following key aspects:
A full copy of the Roadmap can be found here.