Solar ‘central’ to UK energy mix as Government unveils roadmap

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has said solar PV energy will be "central" to the growth of renewables in Britain, at the launch of the Government's much anticipated solar roadmap today.

The new Solar PV Energy Roadmap sets out how the Government will work with businesses and industry to build on the growth seen in the solar industry in the last two years. Installed solar PV capacity has increased ’25 fold’ since the end of 2010.

Today’s launch of the ‘Roadmap to a Brighter Future’ sets out the Government’s vision ahead of the UK’s first ever Solar PV strategy, which will be published in spring next year.

It confirms that new solar PV installations will need to be appropriately sited, give proper weight to environmental considerations such as landscape, heritage and local amenity, and provide opportunities for communities to influence decisions that affect them.

The impacts of deployment on grid systems balancing, grid connectivity and financial incentives will also have to be considered, ensuring the challenges of deploying high volumes of solar PV are addressed.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The Coalition is committed to delivering the clean and reliable energy supplies that the country needs, at the lowest possible cost to consumers.

“Solar PV can play a central role in meeting this challenge. It’s a genuinely exciting energy technology which has already seen rapid growth and enjoys strong public support. I want this growth to continue and to help us push further ahead in the global race – but new solar installations must be sensitive to public opinion and mindful of wider environmental and visual impacts,” he adds.

In April, Barker backed the solar industry for its resilience over two challenging years that saw changes to subsidies and uncertainty for investors.

“As a whole the industry has come through this testing period and has certainly emerged leaner but also wiser, and in due course absolutely larger” said Barker.

The solar industry has welcomed the Governments recent backing, a stark change from last year when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was issued damages claims from five solar installation and construction companies over the Government’s alleged illegal cuts to feed-in tariffs in 2011.

Total demand for compensation of losses incurred by the cuts at the time was approximately £50m, up from the initial demand of £2.2m made in July.

As of April, the estimated value of the UK solar market was £1.5bn but the Government estimates that this will rise to £21.4bn by 2020.

Leigh Stringer

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