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The untapped potential within commercial buildings has the potential to revolutionize solar power in the UK.

solar power in the UK

The recently established Solar Taskforce convenes to discuss strategies for promoting increased rooftop solar installations.

  • The initial session of the recently established Solar Taskforce emphasizes the untapped opportunities within commercial sites for solar energy.
  • The task force is set to propel initiatives essential for achieving the government’s goal of 70GW of solar power by 2035.
  • The primary focus is on reducing installation expenses, enhancing British skills and employment opportunities, and improving grid access to contribute to the ongoing solar power revolution.

At the inaugural meeting of the government’s new Solar Taskforce, discussions unfolded around the prospect of schools, warehouses, and car parks spearheading an affordable solar power revolution.

The government, with a clear target to escalate solar capacity nearly fivefold to 70GW by 2035, aims to bolster Britain’s energy landscape with cleaner, more economical, and secure sources.

Even upon achieving this milestone, the utilization of land mass for solar panels in the UK would still be relatively small.

Presently, over a million UK homes benefit from rooftop solar panels, delivering dependable energy and significantly reducing consumer bills while fostering high-skilled job creation across the nation.

Led by Energy Minister Graham Stuart and Solar Energy UK Chief Executive Chris Hewett, the Taskforce highlighted the untapped potential in commercial buildings, schools, warehouses, car parks, and even floated the possibility of utilizing floating solar technology.

This initiative stems from the government’s commitment to further propel the growth of solar power, as outlined in the Powering Up Britain plan, a response to the recommendations put forth by Chris Skidmore in his Independent Review of Net Zero. Skidmore’s review detailed strategies for the UK to meet its net-zero commitments affordably and efficiently.

Graham Stuart, the Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, stated:

  • Families throughout the UK are already contributing to cleaner, more affordable, and secure energy sources by incorporating solar panels on their rooftops. However, with extensive rooftop areas available on car parks and supermarkets in every community, there is an opportunity to amplify these efforts even further.
  • The newly established Solar Taskforce is committed to an intense focus on reducing costs and dismantling barriers to fully harness the potential of solar power in every possible manner, all within a minimal footprint on the country’s land.
  • This effort will significantly contribute to enhancing our energy security, reducing individuals’ bills, and creating sustainable, long-term employment opportunities.

Chris Hewett, the CEO of Solar Energy UK and co-chair of the Taskforce, remarked:

  • Implementing rooftop solar power, whether on a residential or commercial scale, stands as one of the most advantageous investments. It provides substantial savings on energy bills and the chance to receive compensation for surplus power sent back to the grid. The advantages can be significantly heightened by incorporating a battery storage system.
  • Solar power stands as the preferred choice for power generation among the British public, with consumer demand at an all-time high. However, to meet the target of 70GW by 2035, the rate of rooftop installations needs to double. There is also a requirement for a substantial increase in the number of solar farms. It brings great satisfaction that industry leaders are now collaborating directly with the government to address challenges and optimize the extensive benefits that solar energy can bring to the nation.

During its initial meeting, a focal point of the discussion was devising strategies to boost rooftop installations. This includes facilitating cost reductions for households and businesses seeking to adopt solar panels, ensuring that a broader spectrum of individuals can enjoy the advantages of solar power, such as lowering their utility bills.

You Must Read: The United Kingdom Experiences A Historic Surge In The Installation Of Solar Power Systems

In addition to ground-based solar panels, the Taskforce is aligned in the belief that the solar and farming sectors can mutually reinforce each other to achieve energy security objectives while safeguarding our nation’s food security.

The Taskforce also explored proposals to:

  • Release a solar roadmap in 2024 to advance the initiatives required to achieve the UK’s goal of nearly quintupling solar capacity by 2035.
  • Enhance the skills and enlarge the solar workforce to meet rising demand, simultaneously fostering well-paid, long-term employment opportunities in Britain.
  • Identify possibilities to establish robust supply chains and foster innovation in the global market, creating avenues for UK businesses to export their expertise worldwide.

The Taskforce will be bolstering the UK’s thriving solar industry during a period of significant growth:

  • Since May 2010, more than 99% of the UK’s solar capacity, encompassing ground-based and rooftop installations, has been established, generating power for nearly 4 million homes.
  • In 2020, the solar industry sustained 11,500 jobs nationwide – a number anticipated to be even greater now.
  • In March of this year, the industry successfully implemented solar panels at over 17,000 sites, averaging around 800 installations each working day. If this momentum persists, projections indicate there will be 230,000 installations in 2023, surpassing the existing record set in 2011.

Ben Fawcett, Solar Head at EDF Renewables UK and a member of the Solar Taskforce, commented:

To realize our net-zero aspirations, it is imperative to accelerate the deployment of various solar solutions, ranging from rooftop installations to both small and large utility-scale solar farms. The collaboration between the government and industry through the Solar Taskforce represents a significant stride in the right direction as we diligently strive to unleash the full potential of solar energy in the UK.

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of the Energy Networks Association, representing the UK’s energy network operators, commented:

I anticipate collaborating with Minister Stuart and his department, along with industry partners, to address the challenges on the journey toward achieving net zero. We acknowledge that accelerating and enhancing grid connections is a key challenge, and the pivotal linkage between the taskforce’s efforts and our industry action plan will be crucial.

Ian Rippin, Chief Executive of the renewable energy standards body MCS, stated:

The observed expansion underscores the increasing interest in solar PV and provides valuable insights into the escalating dependence on domestically generated energy in the UK. A growing number of individuals are embracing renewable solutions to produce their own power at home, and it’s encouraging to witness a rising level of confidence in solar energy.


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