PRESS RELEASE: Omission from Government Plan alarms Scottish solar industry

Solar Trade Association
Immediate Release
04 September 2019

Yesterday (03 September 2019) the Scottish Government published its Plan for Scotland, which includes an ambitious proposal for rapid decarbonisation in line with commitments to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. While the STA welcomes scaling-up national ambition to tackle climate change, the glaring omission of solar PV and thermal has left the Scottish solar industry unsettled. Solar is a vital technology for delivering on Net Zero and it is already delivering substantial benefits for Scottish households and communities. STA Scotland has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urgently requesting a meeting to discuss the matter.

STA Scotland Chair Chris Clark said: “Our members really are concerned that solar PV, the technology that is set to dominate future power supply globally is wholly absent from the 2019-2020 plan. This omission is particularly surprising when the Scottish Government has provided national leadership for solar through their new build homes policies and on public sector procurement. We are to keen meet with the First Minister to highlight the Scottish solar industry’s recent successes and to seek her reassurance that her government values our industry and will use its powers to ease barriers to deployment.”

Solar is the most popular form of electricity generation among the British public [1], and in the last year solar PV generation has delivered 4% of Britain’s electricity, surpassing coal (3.5%) and preventing more than 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. [2]

The omission of solar from the Scottish Government’s plan took the industry by surprise given the technology is already making a significant contribution in many areas to Scottish decarbonisation efforts. At the STA Scotland’s annual conference earlier this week, it was revealed that:

  • nearly 90% of Scottish new homes are built with solar PV, and with regulations soon to be tightened, homeowners are set to benefit from properly sized systems
  • councils are using solar and battery storage to tackle fuel poverty, and in some social housing estates tenants have reduced their reliance on the grid by up to 90%
  • network operators recognise the critical role solar can play in managing demand locally, as transport and heat is increasingly electrified

Clark said: “Solar is at the heart of a distributed, decentralised, digitalised and democratised energy system and it has an important role to play in helping Scotland reach its net-zero target by or before 2045. As set out in the SNP manifesto [3], STA Scotland is keen to continue to work with the Scottish Government to advance proposals for expanding solar energy in Scotland. Our industry needs to have confidence that the Scottish Government fully understands and values this technology.”

 

ENDS​

 

 Editors notes:

[1] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/beis-public-attitudes-tracker-wave-27

[2] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – UK Energy Statistics, 2018 & Q4 2018: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791297/Press_Notice_March_2019.pdf

[3] Scottish National Party – Manifesto 2016: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/thesnp/pages/5540/attachments/original/1461753756/SNP_Manifesto2016-accesible.pdf?1461753756

 

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.