The  ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’, released today (8 June), details how the Tories can steer rooftop solar-generated electricity to parity with retail electricity prices and utility-scale solar farms to parity with new gas CCGT power station prices, both by 2020.

“Our goal is to secure a strong British solar industry that can beat fossil fuels on price without subsidy, as quickly as possible,” explained STA chief executive Paul Barwell. “If the industry is given the right support this Parliament, it can deliver clean, affordable power at a stable price to the public and to British businesses in perpetuity.”

Policy changes

In the report, the STA looks at several different scenarios and recommends the Government adopts a ‘Higher Ambition’ scenario with a target of 25GW by 2020. If adopted, the Plan could see 2.1 million solar homes; 24,000 commercial rooftop and community schemes, 2,300 good quality solar farms and almost 57,000 jobs in solar and its supply chains. Achieving this breakthrough would in 2020 only cost households around £13 per year, the STA says.

The report then outlines six changes to existing policy that would double the amount of solar-generated electricity in 2020 – from 10TWh under DECC’s Solar PV Strategy to 21TWh under the STA’s Higher Ambition scenario.

The  STA’s recommended policy steps include: –

Adjusting the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Tariffs to drive growth and target zero subsidy in 2020, by increasing the tariff for the 250kW-1MW band, leaving all other tariffs unchanged and accelerating quarterly tariff reductions in the domestic market
Safeguard the Renewables Obligation for sub-5MW systems to 2017
Allow solar a fairer share of the Levy Control Framework
Adapt Contracts for Difference to benefit solar and small businesses
Incentivise the incorporation of solar into new build houses and offices
Address grid constraints decisively and strategically

2030 vision

Barwell added: “Our Solar Independence Plan shows that a carefully structured policy framework would enable Government to greatly increase its ambitions for the UK solar industry for surprisingly little additional cost.

“The global solar market is estimated to be worth $5trn to 2035 and we want to see British solar firms winning internationally, as well as at home. We very much hope the Secretary of State Amber Rudd and the new Conservative government will get fully behind the extraordinary solar opportunity and adopt this plan.”

The report also sets out the STA’s ‘Solar Vision for 2030’, which paints a picture of what a solar future could look like. Globally, the vision illustrates how solar will have played an important role in slowing global temperature rises and mitigating climate change.

The STA is launching the report at an event in central London today, where representatives from Tesla Motors, the Cabinet Office, Ofgem, the former Conservative Climate Change Minister Greg Barker and others will come together to debate how the Government can make the most of the solar opportunity.

Luke Nicholls

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