BIRMINGHAM (November 23) – By 2030, the UK will need to treble the capacity of electricity coming from solar to keep on track with delivering net zero by 2050, according to expert analysis. Solar deployment is growing rapidly and becoming an increasingly important source of clean energy worldwide. Solar Energy UK has partnered with ITN Productions Industry News to produce ‘Solar Energy – The Route to Net Zero’, a programme looking at the vital contribution solar is making in creating sustainable energy and combating climate change.
Anchored by presenter Sharon Thomas, Solar Energy – The Route to Net Zero, features industry experts and informative interviews, news items and sponsored editorial profiles, filmed at the ITN Productions Industry News London studio and remotely on location. Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of Solar Energy UK, joins Sharon Thomas to discuss the strides the sector is making to meet the net zero challenge.
In the programme, Chris Hewett tells Sharon Thomas: “Solar is going to have a huge part in the story for net zero, we expect the industry to triple its capacity in the next 10 years so that will be around 10-15% of all UK power output from solar.
“Our business-as-usual scenarios are saying we are definitely on track to double, with a few policy changes, we believe we can treble it.
“That would create 13,000 new jobs in the UK with £17 billion worth of economic value and it would, because whenever solar is on the grid, it displaces gas power, actually reducing our emissions by 4.7% in the decade.”
Solar is already making a critical contribution to UK carbon reduction in electricity generation, but it can also help cut carbon from transport and heat. The programme also looks at how solar is charging electric vehicles and helping businesses and homeowners to achieve the net zero ambition.
At Gridserve’s electric forecourt in Braintree, Essex, 36 charging points are powered by panels on the roof and a nearby solar farm.
Toddington Harper, Founder and CEO of Gridserve Sustainable Energy, reveals: “We’re delivering a whole new energy ecosystem which we call ‘sun to wheel’. Instead of oil wells, refineries, pipelines, petrol forecourts and combustion engine cars, we’re building a net zero equivalent.
“All of the energy that people use at Gridserve infrastructure in the UK is either zero-carbon or net zero carbon, and we deliver that because of solar energy.”
With changes to building standards and the move away from central gas heating, new homes from 2030 are likely to be smart solar homes. Cherry Parker of Solar Energy UK says: “Solar power really is an enabling technology; it enables heat pumps in properties to be carbon neutral. The exciting thing about solar is that when it’s integrated from the start, it really creates a sustainable solution.”
The programme also includes films commissioned by Solar Energy UK, focusing on different aspects of development in solar power, including how the technology has evolved to become a viable leader in renewable energy and one of the most powerful tools in achieving net zero.
SolaX Power, known for its power systems in homes and businesses, has been driving the charge into new areas by helping clients, such as Team Dynamics Motorsport, to store the energy generated by solar in batteries, providing power when the sun isn’t shining.
Energy services and solutions company Centrica is working with clients to help them decarbonise and reach their net-zero goals, as well as looking into solar storage solutions for the future. At the Defence School of Transport in East Yorkshire, the company has installed a large solar farm and energy storage facility.
Voltalia produces and sells electricity generated from solar, which it owns and operates. They are also a service provider and support their clients with renewable energy projects from initial design to operation and maintenance.
Using their expertise in digital information technology, as well as significant investment in research and development, Huawei is pioneering the development of smaller solar power inverters which convert the sun’s rays into electricity more efficiently.
Next Energy Capital Group, a global renewables fund manager, is behind the largest solar farm ever constructed in the UK. ‘Llanwern’ in Southeast Wales is also supporting local biodiversity with bird and bat boxes, wildflower meadows and well-maintained waterways, as well as generating sustainable energy.
Nina Harrison-Bell, Head of ITN Productions Industry News, said: “We are delighted to be working with Solar Energy UK to make this programme highlighting the important role solar is playing in ensuring our renewable energy future, as well as the innovations the sector is developing to meet the goal of net zero.”
The programme will launch at Solar & Storage Live 2021 at the NEC Birmingham on November 23 2021.
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