Solar Energy UK
26 August 2022
After today’s extraordinary rise in the energy price cap, Britain’s solar industry says that the prime ministerial candidates’ threats against cheap green power are wholly contrary to the national interest.
Regulator Ofgem announced that a typical household energy bill will hit £3,549 from 1 October, with some analysts suggesting that the cap could be double that from April. [1,2]
The UK was already in a severe energy crisis before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The need to rapidly scale up homegrown energy has never been more urgent.
As industry figures prove, installing solar panels in your home is one of the best measures for your energy bills. More and more homeowners are turning to solar power, with more put on residential rooftops in the first month of this year than the whole of 2021.
“Solar power is a critical solution to the most serious challenges faced by the UK today: cost of living, energy security and climate change. So, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak’s attacks on solar farms – which are vital to meet the government’s solar targets – make no sense,” said Chris Hewett, chief executive of the trade association Solar Energy UK.
“We have just experienced the driest July in history and 40-degree heat in the UK for the first time. The price of fossil fuels has now driven up energy bills so much that many will fear to heat their homes. But at the same time, the cost of renewable energy has hit record lows and there is a great swell of capital ready to invest – creating prosperity, jobs and inexpensive power and not putting roubles in Putin’s pocket.
“And yet the two candidates for Prime Minister are falling over themselves to say how much they dislike the cheapest, cleanest, most popular ways to generate electricity. How did we end up in this alternate universe?” Hewett added.
Instead, the central government should support the industry and ensure that Ofgem secures enhanced connectivity to the national grid – a key stumbling block for deploying solar farms. Suggestions that they form a threat to food security are nonsense, given the tiny proportion of land they occupy.
We continue to call on the government to increase solar energy capacity in the UK and commit to a target of 40GW by 2030 and then to 54GW by 2035 to decarbonise the UK’s power needs fully.
Speed is of the essence, and we estimate that up to 7GW could be built in 2 years, which could create an extra 5,000 secure jobs in the sector, growing to 42,000 jobs in 2030.
As solar, energy storage, and electrification of heat and transport expand, there should be an ambition to deploy at least 100GW by 2050.
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