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Cross-party MSPs jointly call for solar target

Solar Energy Scotland

21 November 2022 

“It is time to follow political will with concrete action,” says a cross-party letter calling for Scotland to set a target of 4-6 gigawatts of solar power capacity by the end of the decade.[1]

Leading MSPs from the SNP, Conservatives, Labour, Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats have jointly called for a target to be set for Scottish solar generation capacity to rise more than tenfold by 2030, as set out in a letter sent today to Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Michael Matheson MSP. This would put Scotland in line with the UK target of 70 gigawatts’ capacity by 2035.[2]

Thomas McMillan, Chair of Solar Energy Scotland said: “Such a goal would be consistent with the Scottish Government’s existing targets for onshore and offshore wind, alongside the political consensus in Holyrood that solar can deliver for the nation. As a signal of intent, it would also encourage investment in the burgeoning sector – and meeting the target would be an instrumental tool not just in meeting climate emission reduction targets, but also to help alleviate fuel poverty and reduce business running costs.”

The signatories are:

  • Paul McLennan, Scottish National Party MSP for East Lothian and Co-convener of the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
  • Fergus Ewing, Scottish National Party MSP for Inverness and Nairn
  • Brian Whittle, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party MSP for South Scotland and Shadow Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform
  • Colin Smyth, Scottish Labour Party MSP for South Scotland and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy, Transport and Rural Affairs
  • Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green Party MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and Spokesperson on Climate, Energy, Environment, Food and Farming
  • Liam McArthur, Scottish Liberal Democrats MSP for Orkney Islands
  • Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrats MSP for North East Fife

The letter to Matheson states that solar is the “cheapest, quickest and easiest to deploy form of renewable energy” available. “We all agree that solar energy has a much bigger role to play in reducing running costs for households and businesses and we believe much more can be done to support consumers and businesses to reduce bills and take action on climate change,” the MSPs say.

They added that they were “much heartened” by recent commitments to accelerate the consultation on extending permitted development rights for rooftop solar panels.

“The forthcoming energy strategy is an opportunity to make solar an important part of Scotland’s future energy mix. We are promised a ‘vision’ for solar, and that is to be welcomed, but we recommend the vision includes a clear level of ambition or target, and we are pleased to have the backing of leading cross party MSPs in making this call for boldness from the outset,” said McMillan.

Implementing the 4-6GW target would not only produce cheaper, greener power for the nation, it would also help deliver almost 9,000 jobs by 2030, ranging from installers and manufacturing technicians to financial specialists and planners.[3]

Solar Energy Scotland has stepped up campaigning activity over the last 18 months. It published its overall policy recommendations in October 2021, including several areas where Scotland has barriers to development that have been removed in the rest of the UK.[4]

[1] Letter to Michael Matheson MSP

[2] Current deployed solar power capacity in Scotland is estimated at 400 megawatts. Capacity across the UK is over 15 gigawatts. Sources: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub / Solar Media Ltd

[3] Solar Skills Scotland: The job creation potential of Scottish solar

[4] Scotland’s Fair Share: Solar’s role in achieving net-zero in Scotland

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Editor’s notes:

Solar Energy Scotland is the trusted industry trade body for solar energy in Scotland.

Alongside Solar Energy UK, we represent the entire solar and energy storage value chain. Solar Energy UK and Solar Energy Scotland are funded largely by our membership and represent a thriving member-led community of over 300+ businesses and associates, of which over 50 are based in Scotland.

Our members range from ambitious and innovative SMEs to global brands.

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