Sector - Central Government
New dawn for solar
The new Solar Taskforce has met recently to discuss plans to use the ‘untapped potential’ of commercial buildings to revolutionise UK solar power.
The new taskforce has been convened to drive forward actions needed to meet government ambition for 70GW solar power by 2035.
Recent discussions have highlighted the untapped potential of commercial sites for solar rooftop installations, with schools, warehouses and car parks earmarked for a revolution in affordable solar power.
The taskforce will focus on cutting costs of installation, boosting British skills and jobs and improving grid access to support in solar power revolution
The government has a clear target to increase solar capacity by nearly fivefold to 70GW by 2035 as part of wider plans to power up Britain with cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy sources.
Even when this is met, the UK would be using only a very small proportion of its land mass for solar panels.
Already over a million UK homes have solar panels fitted to their roofs, providing reliable energy for homes across the UK while significantly reducing consumer bills and creating thousands of high skilled jobs across the country as part of growing our economy. However, the Taskforce, led by Energy Minister Graham Stuart and Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett highlighted the untapped potential of commercial buildings, schools, warehouses and car parks, as well as the possibility of floating solar.
The government pledged to establish a Taskforce to drive the further growth of solar power as part of Powering Up Britain, accepting the recommendation made by Chris Skidmore in his Independent Review of Net Zero identifying how the UK could meet its net zero commitments in an affordable and efficient manner.
Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero Graham Stuart said: “Households across the UK are already doing their bit to provide cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy sources with the solar panels on their roofs – but with acres of rooftop space on car parks and supermarkets in every community, we can be doing even more.
“This new dedicated Solar Taskforce will have a laser-like focus on cutting the costs and breaking down the barriers to harnessing the power of the sun in every way we can, all while using a small fraction of this country’s land.
“Doing so will make a significant contribution to boosting our energy security, cutting people’s bills and providing long-term jobs.”
Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK and co-chair of the Taskforce, said: “Installing rooftop solar power, whether at residential or commercial scale, is one of the best investments available, offering dramatic savings on energy bills and the opportunity to be paid for sending excess power to the grid. The benefits can also be greatly enhanced by adding a battery storage system.
“Solar is the most popular form of power generation amongst the British public and consumer demand has never been higher, though the rate of rooftop installation must double to help hit 70GW by 2035. The number of solar farms will also have to increase significantly. I am delighted we now have industry leaders working directly with the government to resolve the stumbling blocks and maximise the benefits that solar energy offers to the nation.”
The Taskforce also discussed plans to:
- publish a solar roadmap in 2024 to drive forward the actions needed to deliver the UK’s ambition to increase solar capacity by nearly fivefold by 2035
- upskill and expand the solar workforce to meet increasing levels of demand, while creating well-paid long-term employment opportunities for Britain
- identify opportunities to secure resilient supply chains and innovation within the global market, helping to generate opportunities for UK businesses to export their expertise around the world
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