UK solar capacity must treble by 2030 to align with net-zero target

18th June 2021


Web solar istock 184643454 0

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Central government ,
  • Solar

Author

Rueben Lifuka

The UK's solar energy capacity must treble over the next decade for the country to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but is only set to double under a business-as-usual scenario.

That is according to new report by Solar Energy UK, which outlines the policy and regulatory changes required to deliver the 40GW of operational solar capacity needed by the end of the decade.

These include policy changes across the residential, commercial, and utility-scale markets, with the government urged to show as much leadership on solar power as it has done for offshore wind.

The researchers said that trebling solar PV capacity by 2030 could cut total UK carbon emissions by 21.2 million tonnes per year, as fossil fuels are replaced with cleaner power, equating to 4.7% of the country’s emissions in 2019.

This level of deployment would also deliver thousands of skilled jobs, and an estimated £17bn in additional economic activity.

Solar Energy UK chief executive, Chris Hewett, said: “Solar companies up and down the country are in a strong position to deliver the growth needed to meet the UK’s climate commitments.

“However, the government must act now to accelerate deployment to ensure their net-zero targets are met. Jobs, economic growth, and a massive reduction in carbon emissions are all up for grabs.”

The report explains how the UK's current rate of solar capacity expansion will still leave the country more than 11GW shy of the level required to meet the its climate change commitments.

With less than six months to go until COP26, the researchers said that pressure is growing on ministers to make the required policy and regulatory changes now.

These include business rates reform, an end to VAT for solar energy systems, and solar PV’s continued eligibility for government-led clean power auctions.

The report also considers the impact of improved building standards for homes and commercial properties, funding of retrofitted solar on homes and public buildings, and changes to solar park planning definitions, among other recommendations.

“Solar is affordable, reliable, and immensely popular with the public,” Hewett continued.

“Every additional unit of solar energy generated in the UK cuts the amount of coal and gas we burn today. It can and must play a bigger role in the UK’s green economic recovery.”

Image credit: iStock


Transform articles

Water companies fail to hit environmental targets

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has today been launched to support financial institutions and corporates in assessing and managing emerging risks and opportunities as the world looks to reverse biodiversity loss.

4th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert