Solar Energy UK, Climate Change Committee

40GW of solar capacity could deliver 13,000 new jobs, £17bn in additional economic activity, and a 4.7% cut in total UK carbon emissions, according to a new report

Solar Energy UK sets out its plan for government ambition to align with Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommendations, the new report reveals the policy and regulatory changes required to unleash the potential of solar energy.

The new report, Lighting, sets out a plan to deliver the 40GW of operational capacity needed by the end of the decade for the UK to remain on track for a net-zero carbon economy, according to the Climate Change Committee.

Solar Energy UK’s call for the Government to show higher ambition for solar energy in Britain, and set a 40GW target, has been backed across the energy sector and by several green organisations this year.

The report 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.

With less than six months to go until COP26 pressure is growing on the Government to show leadership on solar and other onshore renewables, as it has done for offshore wind.

Under a business-as-usual scenario, UK solar PV capacity is set to more than double over the next decade, demonstrating the continued strength of the industry in the absence of government subsidy.

This would still leave the UK more than 11GW shy of the level required to meet the UK’s climate change commitments, underscoring the scale of ambition required to deliver net zero.

Growth to meet the UK’s climate commitments

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.

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

The full report can be accessed here from 09:00 (17 June).

It will be launched at an online event featuring expert panellists from across the UK solar industry taking place at 10:15.

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