EU Solar Study Shows UK Must Seize Last Chance to Accelerate UK Solar Industry

The new report by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association “Competing in the Energy Sector”, carried out with AT Kearney, shows that solar power in the commercial sector will be competitive with grid electricity by 2017 in the UK.  Domestic and industrial solar will hit parity in 2019 in the UK.

Ernst & Young reached the same conclusion in their Solar Outlook Report for STA earlier this year.

However, the Coalition Government has pulled the rug out from under commercial-sector solar in the UK, putting major manufacturing and job opportunities at risk.  Short of securing more funds for the highly successful Feed-In Tariff, the RO Banding Review consultation, due very shortly, represents the Coalition Government’s last chance to back a non-domestic solar industry in the UK.

The EPIA report is likely to have overestimated the date at which UK solar could become competitive with grid electricity, as its assumptions about future electricity prices are conservative and excluded the large hikes in electricity bills announced this summer.  However, the report assumes a mature and stable market – essential for the industry to achieve expansion and cost reductions.

The EPIA report clearly identifies the UK as one of the top 5 potential markets in the EU yet solar power does not even feature in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s top 8 renewable technologies.  The International Energy Agency is expected to more than double its estimates of the potential global contribution of solar energy, to conclude it could be the biggest source of energy in the world within 50 years.

Stuart Pocock, Interim CEO of STA said,

“Report after report shows that solar power can make an exceptional contribution. The amount of evidence in support of putting solar at the heart of the UK renewables strategy is overwhelming. We urge the Coalition Government to seize every opportunity to strengthen the UK’s position in what will be the biggest energy market in the world.”

STA has said repeatedly that the UK is greatly underestimating the role of solar power, which can meet UK electricity demand twice over and which is the second largest UK renewable energy resource.  Solar is not only set to be cheaper than other power generation technologies but can open the UK electricity sector to millions of new entrants, greatly increasing electricity market competition and consumer choice.

The EPIA study is the first part of a more comprehensive study. See www.epia.org

 

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