Did You Know That The UK Is The Third-Highest Solar Capacity Among The Countries In Europe?
The UK has 458 large-scale solar PV plants, supplying close to 44% of the total energy demand. While all the countries in the world are trying hard to incorporate more solar power into their energy mix, the UK has already achieved a major milestone in its road to sustainability. It is quite exemplary to all the countries in the world.
The solar capacity of the UK was around 5,488 MW in the year 2014. In 2019, they recorded the net solar power generation as 13,259.MW. It is a 140% increase in just five years. It is quite amazing.
One of the main influences to uplift solar power in the UK was the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) system started back in 2010. Because of it, around 1,000,000 solar PV systems were installed since the introduction of the FIT system. 93% of the total number of installations is below 4W. With time, the legislation on solar power in the country has been revised. Today you will find the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) instead of the FIT system. SEG is meant to provide more support to the small-scale power generators in the country. However, with the increase in taxes (VAT) from 5% to 20% on solar panels, the government expects the growth of solar power to slow down a little compared to the previous years.
Solar power stands in fourth place compared to other renewable power generation methods in the UK. Almost 17% of the total renewables is wind power. Solar counts for only 3.9%. With the recession in the world economy and the increase in inflation, the growth of the solar PV sector has reduced quite a bit. However, the UK government is ambitious when it comes to green energy targets. It seems that they are working hard towards reaching sustainability goals, making it a top priority. By 2023, the UK expects to increase the solar power generation in the region to 15,674MW. That means adding an extra capacity of 2711MW.
The goal of the UK is to meet the net-zero target by the year 2050. In order to reach that goal, the UK needs to install a solar capacity of 120GW by 2050. It seems that the nation is right on track to achieve it. Scientists have found that if the UK can treble the current solar PV capacity, it will reduce carbon emission by 21.2 million tons annually. This is equal to 4.7% of total UK emissions in the year 2019. It is a significant improvement of the carbon footprint of the country.
In order to reach the net-zero target by 2050, the UK government has made it a milestone to reach 40GW by the end of 2030. Yet this is way less than what is recommended by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) of the UK. CCC recommends adding 11GW of more solar power into the energy mix by the year 2030. This not only saves the environment and the money, but it will also create many jobs for the people in the UK. It is assumed that there will be a 17 billion increase in economic activity if this target is reached by 2030.
Is It Achievable?
Or is it too ambitious with the prevailing VAT on solar panels and repercussions due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Time will tell. But Solar Energy UK has stepped forward to propose the government reduce the VAT imposed on solar panels. They say that it is difficult to achieve the said targets with the current taxation. They also suggest the government break the technological barriers for “Contracts for Difference” auctions.
In the first quarter of 2020, total energy expansion in the UK was only 60MW. It was way below par. Despite all the negatives, the generation expansion of solar PV in the UK is 175MW. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects a 10% increase in solar PV generation annually.
Overall, it is clear that the UK is a nation that is taking green energy goals very seriously. With the current trend, the UK is on track to realize 40GW of power generation by 2030.