STA BLOGS: Solar energy and the Green Homes Grant

Earlier in the Autumn the Government announced a £2bn package for a grants scheme to drive retrofitting in homes across the country to reduce carbon emissions. It generated great headlines, warm words from the environment movement and provided a tangible example of how the country might ‘build back better’. Hooray for the Green Homes Grant you might think. Sadly, the delivery of the scheme has yet to match the rhetoric.  Yes, I know that sounds all too familiar right now. What is currently on offer has many flaws and unless the scheme changes significantly it will, at best, deliver a …

STA BLOGS: Solar’s synergies with nature

To avoid the worst of climate change there must be a rapid shift to clean energy. In tandem with efforts to reduce emissions from highly polluting coal and gas power stations, the UK is also tasked with restoring and supporting healthy ecosystems across the country to tackle a growing biodiversity crisis. Large-scale PV technology can play an instrumental role in tackling both of these challenges, driving the UK’s shift to a zero-carbon economy while simultaneously enhancing natural capital. Although it is challenging to measure on a global scale, in recent years many countries have reported a consistent decline in biodiversity. …

STA BLOGS: Let’s draw on solar’s hard won resilience

These are challenging times. The Covid-19 crisis has effectively shuttered economies globally, transforming patterns of consumption and energy use and disrupting businesses on an unprecedented scale. As a result, 2020 may well be the most difficult year many of your companies have ever encountered. The solar industry in the UK, however, has learned how to be resilient and is rising to the challenge, with distributors working hard to maintain the supply chain and the operators of solar parks keeping the energy system going, working together to pool maintenance resource. Some companies are even using their expertise and networks to bring …

SOLAR VOICE: January/February 2020

With combatting the climate crisis now a firm priority for the British public, more and more businesses are investigating how they can decarbonise their operations to deliver greener products and services to their increasingly environmentally-savvy customers. Many have turned towards renewables as a solution, with some even setting a deadline to reach 100% renewable energy procurement under the brilliant RE100 initiative. One such RE100 member, Tesco, has committed to sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and to include over 50% from PPAs and on-site generation, with an interim milestone to source 65% renewable electricity by 2020.  …

SOLAR VOICE: November/December 2019

Less than two weeks remain in this decade, and what a decade it has been for renewable energy and solar in particular. As a technology and UK industry, solar has grown from niche to mainstream.  Solar in the UK has faced its ups and downs, but the ride on the solar coaster has finally ended. Steadier, more stable times lie ahead, and the STA will now support the industry through a decade of huge potential growth. This decade saw solar deployment levels in the UK climb from very low levels to 14 gigawatts across more than 1,050 solar parks and …

SOLAR VOICE: September/October 2019

In such politically uncertain times, it is remarkable that the commitment needed to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is now a consensus. If we are to reach this crucial target in good order, a greater role for decentralised renewable energy must be carved out over the coming years. Solar, energy storage, electric vehicles, demand side management and more will play a vital role in the transition to a clean, green economy. The cost of solar has fallen rapidly over the previous decade, and continues to be highly competitive with onshore and offshore wind. And whilst nuclear costs always …

STA Blogs: How VAT is changing on 01 October

In this blog, Segen provide a full breakdown of what the imminent changes to VAT legislation mean for your business. The rumours are true: from 1 October 2019 the way in which you can charge VAT on energy-saving materials (ESMs) in residential installations is changing. As solar is a listed energy saving material this change means you will have to reconsider your businesses approach to VAT. The person commissioning or paying for the installation must be the person who meets one of the criteria and HMRC will request that the installer is able to evidence the condition met (evidence could …

RE-SourceUK Blog – PPAs: Placing risk where it sits best

As we reflect back on yesterday’s insightful pilot event for the RE-SourceUK platform, Tomas Tuomenin, European PPA Lead for Macquarie/Green Investment Group, recaps some of the barriers discussed during the conference, and highlights how corporates and public-sector bodies alike can move past these challenges to procure more clean energy and reach their net zero targets. In 2018, the volume of clean energy purchased by corporates rose to new highs, reaching over 13GW – nearly double on 2017. While North America remains at the vanguard of corporate PPA procurement, the wind and sun of change is blowing and shining across Europe. Large …

RE-SourceUK Blog – Orsted on Corporate PPAs

In this blog, Alana Johnson, Head of Corporate PPAs for Ørsted, breaks down the corporate power purchase agreement, and explores how some UK corporations are leading the way towards a greener future. Corporate Power Purchase Agreements: The next step for sustainability? Combatting the climate crisis is at the top of the public agenda, with concern at a record high1. Last year’s UN2 report shows that to limit global climate change, we must lower temperature rises to 1.5C by 2030. To achieve this, the latest Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report3 states that the UK must act swiftly. Roughly two thirds …

STA BLOGS: Been There, Done VAT

Gumperson’s Proof states that ‘the most undesirable things are the most certain (death and taxes)’. Whilst the former remains as certain as ever, the same cannot be said for the UK’s approach to taxing technologies essential to reducing our nation’s bills, decarbonising our homes and enabling flexibility within our electricity system.  To the immense frustration of the clean energy industry, we are yet again fighting off another proposed VAT hike for solar and storage technologies. Despite fending off similar proposals back in 2016, the reduced rate VAT of 5% available to domestic solar PV and solar thermal installations (as well as …