UK solar PV strategy — roadmap to a brighter future

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 & 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…

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