Installed solar PV capacity has already increased from 94 MW at December 2010 to 2,413 MW at the end of June 2013.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) forecasts that under current policies this will grow to 10 GW (10,000 MW) by 2020.
However, energy minister Greg Barker is keen to go further and has declared his ambition to see 20 GW deployed by 2020.
He said that reaching this target depends on industry driving down costs even more quickly than it is currently, by innovation and efficiency improvements throughout the supply chain.
Mr Barker said that “sensitively-sited” solar panels will be central to the growth of renewables in Britain.
DECC will produce a full Solar PV Strategy next spring but in the meantime yesterday it published some initial thoughts. The document, UK Solar PV Strategy Part 1: Roadmap to a Brighter Future, sets out four guiding principles that form the basis of government’s strategy for solar PV.
- Support for solar PV should allow cost-effective projects to proceed and to make a cost-effective contribution to UK carbon emission objectives in the context of overall energy goals – ensuring that solar PV has a role alongside other energy generation technologies in delivering carbon reductions, energy security and affordability for consumers.
- Support for solar PV should deliver genuine carbon reductions that help meet the UK’s target of 15% renewable energy from final consumption by 2020 and in supporting the decarbonisation of our economy in the longer term – ensuring that all the carbon impacts of solar PV deployment are fully understood.
- Support for solar PV should ensure proposals are appropriately sited, give proper weight to environmental considerations such as landscape and visual impact, heritage and local amenity, and provide opportunities for local communities to influence decisions that affect them.
- Support for solar PV should assess and respond to the impacts of deployment on: grid systems balancing; grid connectivity; and financial incentives –addressing the challenges of deploying high volumes of solar PV.
Mr 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.”
The report can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-solar-pv-strategy-part-1-roadmap-to-a-brighter-future