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STA calls on government to seize ‘cost-effective win’ on solar power

The Solar Trade Association is lobbying the DECC as it prepares to decide the level of financial support for solar power under the Renewables Obligation (RO).

The consultation has focused on utility-scale solar (5 MW+), but the STA has raised concerns with the DECC that the needs of mid-sized installations in the non-domestic sector must also be addressed. 

Nothing has been built in the largest Feed-in Tariff band (250 kW-5 MW) since the FiT was reduced to just 7.1p in July, the STA stated. 

The RO at 2 ROCs had just begun to support mid-size solar but it is unclear how this sub-sector will be enabled going forwards.

STA CEO Paul Barwell said: “Solar power can deploy quickly and help the UK address its looming energy crunch and the lack of sector competition.

“Solar power is set to offer businesses and households cheaper power than grid electricity before the end of this decade so there are excellent strategic reasons for government to champion the UK industry.

“We very much hope that the DECC will deliver a framework that supports all sub-sectors of solar power.”

The STA says it believes there are many reasons why solar PV should be vigorously supported:

  • Mainstream analyses show future solar costs are likely to be lower in real terms compared to fossil fuel prices;
  • Solar is decentralised and produces electricity close to regional demand, delivering potential network savings;
  • Utility-scale solar can make use of brownfield land and contaminated sites, as well as multi-task with poor grade agricultural land, for example combined with grazing;
  • Solar power opens up the electricity sector to potentially millions of new investors, transforming ownership and competition in the UK’s consolidated electricity markets.

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