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Scotland’s solar industry welcomes tax incentives

Solar Energy Scotland
16 December 2022

Solar Energy Scotland welcomes the inclusion of non-domestic rates relief for solar energy systems in the Scottish Government’s budget, announced yesterday.[1]

Solar energy is a low-cost energy source able to greatly reduce running costs in domestic and business premises over the course of a year. The changes will exempt new solar schemes from non-domestic rates till 2035, allowing businesses to gain the full financial benefit of onsite generation.

Thomas McMillan, the Chair of Solar Energy Scotland said: “Solar energy is the most affordable source of energy, creates green jobs, and contributes to Scotland’s legally binding decarbonisation targets. Relief from business rates empowers Scottish businesses to lower their energy costs and decarbonise by installing onsite solar energy generation. This is a welcome step for the solar industry, Scottish businesses and Scotland’s climate targets.”

”The announcement adds to a number of very positive moves by the Scottish Government over the course of the last 18 months, for example to accelerate and expand permitted development rights for rooftop solar and to improve the planning system to support more deployment. There remains a clear gap, however. We need to see a target in the forthcoming Energy Strategy so that solar is given the same treatment as other technologies such as heat pumps, electric vehicles and onshore and offshore wind. A solar target would provide policy certainty, support investment and inform decision making,” said Emily Rice, Policy Analyst at Solar Energy Scotland.

Businesses are exposed to significant hikes in energy, with the recent Scottish Business Monitor report from Fraser of Allander finding that 91% of respondent businesses were concerned about energy costs. Two fifths of Scottish businesses expect to reduce their operations this year due to high energy costs, while only 5% expect to see strong growth over the next year.[2] This is unsurprising, given that firms around the UK could see their bills increase by 500% in 2022.[3]

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Editor’s notes:

[1] Extract from budget statement: “We are using our non‑domestic rates regime to further incentivise investment in renewables through the introduction of new prescribed plant and machinery exemptions for onsite renewable energy generation and storage from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2035.”

[2] Fraser of Allander, 2022. Scottish Business Monitor Report Q2

[3] Cornwall insight – Businesses could see energy bills increase fivefold in October

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 industry. 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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