Solar industry commends Government for commitment and vision

The Government's recent recognition and support of the solar industry has been hailed by those in the sector as an important commitment for the UK's energy future.

Speaking to edie, chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), Reza Shaybani, was encouraged to hear the Minister of Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker highlight solar’s position in the UK’s future energy mix.

The minister gave a speech on Tuesday at the launch of the National Solar Centre, to the acclaim of those in the sector.

“I was delighted to hear the ministers speech, which is in line with his recently announced vision and views, on how he sees the growth of the industry, the importance of the solar industry as part of the UK energy mix, the potential it has in other applications, including the building industry, the growth, the economic contribution and job creation,” said Shaybani.

Commenting on DECC’s recent decision to reduce support for solar power under the Renewables Obligation (RO) from 2 ROCs to 1.6 ROCs from April this year rather than the initially proposed 1.5 ROC’s, Shaybani admitted that it was not “ideal but wasn’t a disaster”.

“It was not a case of 1.8ROCs or 2ROCs, 1.6 or 1.4. We asked and lobbied for a better dialogue with Government and the industry, so that an informed decision can be made rather than the previous system that was based on information that was perhaps not so accurate,” he added.

However, the chairman was quick to acknowledge the Government’s response to industry concerns.

“I’m delighted that the consultation went well, we are not unhappy with the 1.6ROC level – of course we wanted more but that’s natural – and talking to our members, many of which are project developers, the 1.6 figure does make financial sense in order to deliver successful projects,” he said.

Now with a clear vision and Government backing, the solar industry is looking to expand on the estimated 390,000 installations across the UK, which are acting as a catalyst to bring consumers on board.

Shaybani was upbeat about the industry’s future but also acknowledged the challenges it currently faces.

“There are factors we have to take into consideration. The weather, for instance, is not very good at the moment. We’ve also got the bigger picture of the economic climate – we are still in a recession,” he said.

“However, what is important is the industry has now, with the help of Government, managed to put the message across to consumers and businesses that if your price of electricity is going up, which frankly we don’t have a lot of control over, you can do something about this” added Shaybani.

Leigh Stringer

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