Solar Trade Association
22 August 2019
This morning, the Science & Technology Committee published a report on the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy  in which it called for “strong policy support” for new solar power.
Many of the recommendations made echo those which the STA has been calling for in recent years, such as reducing business rates for companies generating their own renewable power through rooftop PV.
STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said; “This report is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature that is calling on the government to bring down barriers to solar and energy storage in the UK. With a legally-binding commitment to reach net zero by 2050, urgent action is needed now. The solar industry is ready to deliver at scale and must be recognised as part of the solution.”
The report makes the following calls to action on solar policy:
On large-scale solar policy:
- The Government must ensure that there is strong policy support for new onshore wind power and large-scale solar power projects for which there is local support and projected cost-savings for consumers over the long-term.
- The Government should actively encourage and support local authorities to adopt planning practices that promote local support for such renewable energy projects.
- The Government must additionally develop mechanisms to promote community ownership and profit-sharing of low-carbon projects, such as joint ventures, split ownership or shared revenue.
On the Smart Export Guarantee:
- The Government must ensure that it reviews the functioning of the Smart Export Guarantee scheme by the end of 2020, and should be ready to include a minimum price floor if there is evidence of a lack of market competitivity—for example, if uptake of tariffs is not significantly greater than the current number of tariffs or if the tariffs offered are significantly lower than wholesale electricity prices.
On business rates:
- The Government must make sure that business rates incentivise embedded low-carbon generation and do not cause existing embedded generation to be disconnected.
- The Government should reduce business rates for organisations that consume the majority of the power they generate to match the rates of organisations that sell the majority of their generation—and stop the administrative burden of loopholes that are being used to counter the discrepancy in rates.
- The Government should also reinstate the microgeneration exemption from business rates for renewable energy installations producing no more than 50kW.
On Ofgem’s review of forward-looking charges:
- Ofgem must revise its proposed network charging reforms to ensure that they do not disincentivise the deployment of technologies that will contribute to the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy system.
Solar power is the UK’s most popular energy generation technology, consistently scoring over 80% in BEIS public attitude tracker polls.  6/10 households want solar and battery storage for their homes at some point in the future.  With a fair export tariff and a competitive supply tariff, the average solar household is expected to save around £400 a year – more for those who are frequently at home during the day, such as retirees, young families and those who have flexible working schemes. The STA is actively monitoring smart export tariff offers under the Smart Export Guarantee via our dedicated league table. 
The cost of solar has rapidly fallen year-on-year and is one of the most cost-effective energy generation technologies available. By 2030, STA analysis estimates the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar will have fallen below £40/MWh.  While solar PV deployment has dropped significantly since its peak in 2015 (2018 saw a 95% drop compared to 2015), STA analysis estimates 4-7GW of subsidy-free solar could be deployed between 2019 and 2023. 
 Science & Technology Committee – Clean Growth: Technologies for meeting the UK’s emissions reduction targets: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmsctech/1454/1454.pdf
 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker September 2018 (Wave 27): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/754515/W27_Summary_Report.pdf
 ClientEarth – Climate Snapshot August 2018: https://www.documents.clientearth.org/wp-content/uploads/library/2018-08-20-clientearths-climate-snapshot-coll-en.pdf
 Solar Trade Association – Smart Export Guarantee: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/resource-centre/advice-tips-for-households/smart-export-guarantee/
 Solar Trade Association – Cost of UK large-scale solar could drop below £40/MWh by 2030: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/cost-of-uk-large-scale-solar-could-drop-below-40mwh-by-2030/
 Solar Trade Association – The End of the Solarcoaster: https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/the-end-of-the-solarcoaster/
For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
Name: Jack Dobson-Smith
Title: Public Affairs & Communications Officer
Main line: 0203 637 2946
Background on the Solar Trade Association:
The mission of the Solar Trade Association is to empower the UK solar transformation. We are paving the way for solar to deliver the maximum possible share of UK energy by 2030 by enabling a bigger and better solar industry. We represent both solar heat and power plus energy storage, and have a proven track record of winning breakthroughs for all three technologies.