Skip to Navigation

Scottish Solar industry welcomes commitment to boost solar energy generation in Scotland 

Solar Energy UK 
30 October 2023

Scotland’s solar energy industry today welcomed the Scottish Government announcement that it is committing to significantly increase the amount of solar energy generation in Scotland by 2030. 

The commitment to a minimum of 4 Gigawatts and an ambition to 6GW will mean a more than tenfold increase in the number of solar panels installed in Scotland. The announcement was made by Green Minister Lorna Slater at the Scottish Green Party conference in Dunfermline this weekend. 

Chris Hewett, Chief Executive at SEUK, said: “Solar Energy UK welcomes this statement of intent from the Scottish Government to fully exploit the potential of solar energy, in line with the ambitions that industry has been advocating. We look forward to discussing with the Government how the industry will bring forward proposals for community benefit that ensure sufficient projects can be built by 2030 whilst providing real value for local people and nature. This truly will be a win-win-win.” 

Thomas McMillan, Chair of Solar Energy Scotland said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government has committed to a level of ambition for deploying solar technology as part of Scotland’s energy mix. For too long solar has been sitting in the shadows of the wind sector which has meant Scotland has lagged behind on solar deployment. A clear target and ambition for the technology will help to dispel the myth that solar is not a major resource in Scotland. With an area the size of the Isle of Hoy receiving enough sunlight to meet all of Scotland’s energy needs, the solar industry looks forward to working with the Scottish Government and other key stakeholders to deliver 4 to 6 GWs of solar by 2030.” 

“The delivery of 4 to 6 GWs of solar in Scotland by 2030 will create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and help tackle the cost-of-living crisis. As a modular technology, solar is by far, the most affordable and accessible renewable energy technology, it can be installed on residential buildings, commercial buildings, carports or as a ground mounted system as a solar farm.” 

“Setting a clear target for solar will benefit the industry, boosting investment and will ensure coherent action and direction across many policy areas, ranging from planning decisions on projects to creating green economic opportunities for people across Scotland. The Scottish Government has listened and acted, and we applaud them for that. Vision, ambition, and action are the three essential ingredients that are required in political leadership to address the climate crisis.” 

“We look forward to working with the government and all stakeholders to make 6GWs of installed solar in Scotland by 2030 happen. We are ready and willing as an industry to deliver.” 

Solar can reduce business costs and there are thousands of business roof tops that could install solar with many projects currently having payback periods of less than 4 years. Solar farms can provide biodiversity benefits on a large scale, as well as providing ongoing grazing land and food production opportunities. Solar installed in homes alongside heat pumps and batteries can result in significant reductions in energy costs and can directly address fuel poverty. 

Notes to editors

1. Speaking at the conference Green Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater MSP said: 

“Today I’m pleased to announce that the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan will commit to a bold deployment ambition of at least 4, but up to 6, gigawatts of solar power by 2030. That’s ten times our current solar generation capacity. 

“This ambition will be contingent on the industry committing to an appropriate level of community benefit and ensuring biodiversity standards are met.” 

2. Background on benefits of a target: 

A deployment objective for solar energy in Scotland will help the wider effort to act more urgently than ever to drastically cut climate change emissions and can do this in many ways: 

  • Greater solar power on the system, with a necessary increase in the provision of flexibility services, will make more efficient use of the grid infrastructure that we already have due to the complementary generation profiles of wind and solar. 
  • Strategic direction on solar deployment targets will further incentivise investment in a smart and capable electricity grid, which is urgently needed and will benefit communities and businesses across Scotland. Setting a national deployment ambition for solar would provide the distribution network operators (DNOs) with the clarity of policy direction required to make decisions about infrastructure and investment in urban and rural areas alike. 
  • An ambition of 4-6GW in Scotland could support nearly 9,000 jobs by 2030. These jobs are not just installers and developers; a wide variety of roles from site planners and manufacturers to construction and trade roles, to communications and finance specialists will be created by a healthy solar industry. 
  • A defined solar target would ensure that solar deployment is included in future energy scenarios and modelling. The energy scenarios published alongside the draft strategy were in many places directly informed by existing policy measures (wind, hydrogen, EVCP, etc.); therefore, the lack of ambition in solar deployment is self-fulfilling as no future scenarios consider Solar’s role. 

A national solar ambition is essential to direct the development of solar energy in Scotland. It signals to industry, policy makers, district network operators, and planning decision makers that solar is an essential part of Scotland’s energy transition and opens the door for solar to deliver stable green jobs. 

Photo: Lorna Slater delivers during her keynote speech at the Scottish Green Party conference at Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline (Jane Barlow/PA)-(PA Wire).