Solar Industry Welcomes Clean Growth Strategy Recommendations

A REPORT on the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy in which it called for “strong policy support” for new solar power has been published today (22 August 2019) by the Science & Technology Committee.

Many of the recommendations made echo those which the Solar Trade Association (STA) has been calling for in recent years, such as reducing business rates for companies generating their own renewable power through rooftop PV.

Chris Hewett

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 on 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.
The full report can be found here.

 

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