Scotland is currently over half way towards reaching its target with over 7.5 GW of renewables, of which over 5 GW is generated by onshore wind. Solar can make an important contribution to the rest of the 100 percent target while also providing an essential balance to the mix of renewables in Scotland.
Despite the recent subsidy reductions by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), support for solar power in Scotland remains high, both politically and commercially. In September last year, the Scottish Government used its devolved powers within the Renewables Obligation (RO) to boost investor confidence in large-scale solar in Scotland. STA Scotland is proposing that the Scottish Government achieves its renewables targets by establishing a dedicated Solar Action Plan for Scotland. It is also suggesting targets for both solar PV and solar thermal for 2020.
The action list also contains specific recommendations on on business rates, social housing and community energy, and covers both solar PV electricity and solar thermal hot water heating. It recommends the establishment of Scottish financial support mechanisms for solar projects, active support for energy storage for both electricity and heat at all levels and recognition of the benefits of co-locating solar, wind and storage. It also contains proposals for addressing major grid constraints for distributed power generation in Scotland and recommends the introduction of a replacement for the failed Green Deal energy efficiency scheme.
“There are a number of simple, practical things the Scottish Government can do to boost solar north of the border, whether it is encouraging wind and solar to share grid capacity or changes to planning” said John Forster, Chairman of STA Scotland and of Scottish solar business Forster Energy. “We are also keen that the Scottish Government look at options to establish its own financial support mechanisms for solar to bridge the gap between now and the early 2020s when we hope to see mainstream solar projects become subsidy-free.”
Mr Forster added that STA Scotland is optimistic with regard to solar in Scotland during the next few years. The trade association believes there is scope for Scotland to lead the way within the UK, encouraging markets for solar on residential homes, commercial rooftops, new build homes and buildings and solar farms.
STA Scotland was launched in March 2015 and has assembled some of the leading solar businesses in Scotland, to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that the country remains at the forefront of the solar market, not only protecting the more than 3,000 solar industry jobs in Scotland, but supporting the growth of the industry, potentially tenfold, over the term of the next Scottish Parliament.
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