In a talk given to invited attendees at the SuperSolar web meeting on Operation and Management (O&M) issues on 6 October 2020, Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association, shared with attendees some very impressive figures for solar deployment in the UK.

Solar energy already provides a vital contribution to the UK energy mix, and as efforts to meet the target of Net-Zero by 2050 gather pace, the deployment of solar in the UK is projected to play an even greater role. Chris Hewett was able to share news of the latest estimates of the projected contribution of solar.

Chris Hewett, Chief Executive, STA

The Climate Change Committee estimate the requirement of installed solar by 2030 to be 40GW. The Solar Trade Association use their connectivity and insight into the UK solar industry to project solar capacity and they believe that the solar industry can meet that target. They estimate that there are projects with over 10GW of utility scale ground mounted solar already under development, at various stages from planning consent to grid connection. However, limited grid capacity could be a factor, with possible restricted growth as capacity is reached.

The Solar Trade Association highlight cost as a major driver to this growth, and their members survey suggests median LCOE for ground mounted PV being significantly lower than predicted, with expectation of this trend continuing. They highlighted the prediction that solar will become even less expensive than onshore wind, becoming the cheapest power source in the UK.

The commercial drivers will continue to fuel investment and growth, as will forthcoming CfD auctions in 2021 and corporate PPAs. The commitment to UK solar from utility companies and corporate investors is strong and is set to see solar deliver its contribution to the Net-Zero target.

Read more about how the Solar Trade Association believes 40GW solar can be achieved here.