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What the solar industry really wants: commitment

17 June 2021:

Solar energy is among the most established, lowest risk, and most popular of renewable technologies. So, what will it take for the UK Government to set out a formal commitment to accelerating its development?

In 2019, the UK led the way in becoming the world’s first major economy to adopt a binding legal commitment to end the country’s contribution to global warming by 2050 – meaning all greenhouse gas emissions must either eliminated or offset by that year.

It’s what is required to keep overall warming below 2.0C. This is what the world pledged to deliver through the Paris Agreement, and global leaders are late to start making good on this promise.

The problem is many experts already consider the aspirational Paris target of limiting warming to 1.5C to be a lost cause. The past decade was the hottest on record, with total global emissions still rising and showing little signs of slowing. 

What we need now is grounded solutions. And with the UK hosting the 26th international Climate Change Conference in November 2021, there’s a valuable opportunity to again show how the UK is again leading the way with meaningful action to meet its commitments.

Independent analysis from the Climate Change Committee and other leading experts makes clear the UK will not achieve net zero without major increases in renewable energy, particularly from established technologies such as solar and storage.

There is consensus on the scale of the challenge. The UK will need to nearly treble the amount of solar installed over the next decade, from 14GW today to 40GW by 2030, including at least 4GW in Scotland, if we’re to stay on track. This will also need to be met with a commensurate increase in supporting technologies like energy storage.

This means setting ambitious targets and having the determination to work with industry to deliver on them. The UK’s forthcoming Net Zero Strategy is the next major opportunity to set out how we will get there.

What the solar industry needs to hear is that government is equally ambitious to accelerate the development of solar, as it is about targets for offshore wind and other technologies.  

Our latest report presents a clear roadmap for how the Government can accelerate the development of solar, with several recommendations for action, including on planning and tax reforms, together with support for homeowners and others.

It shows how solar would provide a £17 billion boost in economic activity, create over 13,000 jobs, and help homeowners and businesses reduce their energy bills, while reducing carbon emissions by 4.7% and supporting biodiversity.

In the solar industry, we know exactly what needs to be done and we know how to get there. Now we need the Government to commit to a bold target and deliver the reforms to make this happen.