UK solar association urges govt to adopt 25-GW solar goal
Rooftop solar system. Author: Martin Abegglen. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
The UK can have 25 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity by the end of the decade at an annual cost to households of some GBP 13.35 (USD 20.5/EUR 18) in 2020, according to the Solar Trade Association (STA).
The lobby group launched its "Solar Independence Plan for Britain" on Monday, calling on the new UK government to adopt the higher ambition scenario in the report with a 2020 target of 25 GW. Achieving that goal will translate into costs of GBP 1.55 billion in 2020, just GBP 350 million more than the 12-GW upper range of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) PV strategy, the study shows. Meanwhile, the solar output in the country in 2020 will jump to 21 TWh from 10.4 TWh under DECC's PV strategy, increasing the share of solar in UK electricity demand to 6.9% from 3.4% under the government's current plan.
The report recommends six policy changes including adjusting the feed-in tariffs (FiTs) to allow more growth and aiming for zero subsidy by 2020, safeguarding the Renewables Obligation support regime for big rooftops and smaller solar farms until March 2017, and addressing grid constraints. The STA also calls for greater allocation under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions and amending the CfD process to allow for better access for small companies that dominate the solar market. It further recommends incentivising the incorporation of solar into new buildings.
The STA says its plan sets out how the government could bring rooftop solar power to parity with retail electricity prices and utility-scale solar parks to parity with new combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station price by 2020.
"Our goal is to secure a strong British solar industry that can beat fossil fuels on price without subsidy, as quickly as possible," said STA chief executive Paul Barwell ."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," Barwell also said.
Under the plan's other, minimum ambition scenario, the UK could have 20 GW of solar by 2020 by increasing current planned government investment in the technology to GBP 1.4 billion from GBP 1.2 billion in 2020.