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 seem to rise, solar will continue to fall. The industry has proved that this technology can be deployed at scale and make a significant contribution toward the energy mix. It is imperative that this decade is used to roll it out as fast as possible, alongside a flexible electricity system and greater deployment of energy storage technologies.

This roll out will not be driven by government subsidy, but by prevailing economics and technological improvements. The question is not if, but how fast we can make it happen. The current state of British politics means we cannot readily rely on government leadership to propel this agenda forwards. There is no certainty as to what might happen next week, let alone over the next decade, and the urgency of the climate emergency means we cannot wait for matters to be resolved, particularly when there is still no sign that resolution is forthcoming.

Instead, it is up to a range of other capable change agents to occupy this leadership vacuum. Investors and developers; corporate energy buyers; local, regional and devolved authorities, energy networks, the construction and property industries, and households, all have a part to play. Whether the challenge is how to make the most of local planning powers, tackling corporate purchasing or navigating Brexit, the STA is showing them the way.

Watch this space.

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