Thousands of jobs in pipeline if solar sector can treble up by 2030

Britain’s solar industry could treble in size by the end of the decade, creating thousands of jobs and helping the country deliver on its green goals, a new study indicates.

Industry body Solar Energy UK has set out a roadmap to ramp up solar panel capacity over the next eight years.

It calls for the UK government to show greater ambition for solar energy in the run up to the COP26 conference in Glasgow and sets a 40-gigawatt (GW) target, which could deliver 13,000 new jobs, £17 billion in additional economic activity and a 4.7 per cent cut in total UK carbon emissions.

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Under a “business-as-usual scenario”, UK solar capacity is set to more than double over the next decade, demonstrating the continued strength of the industry in the absence of government subsidy, the industry body noted.

Industry body Solar Energy UK has set out a roadmap to ramp up solar panel capacity over the next eight years. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

However, this would still leave the UK some 11GW shy of the level required to meet the UK’s climate change commitments.

Trebling the nation’s solar energy capacity by 2030 could cut total UK carbon emissions by 21.2 million tonnes per year as fossil fuels are replaced with cleaner power, equating to 4.7 per cent of the UK’s emissions in 2019.

Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said: “Solar companies up and down the country are in a strong position to deliver the growth needed to meet the UK’s climate commitments.

“However, the government must act now to accelerate deployment to ensure their net zero targets are met. Jobs, economic growth, and a massive reduction in carbon emissions are all up for grabs.

“Solar is affordable, reliable, and immensely popular with the public. Every additional unit of solar energy generated in the UK cuts the amount of coal and gas we burn today. It can and must play a bigger role in the UK’s green economic recovery.”

The report outlines several policies that would boost solar panel deployment, including business rates reform, an end to VAT for solar energy systems and solar’s continued eligibility for government-led clean power auctions.

It also considers the impact of improved building standards for homes and commercial properties, funding of retrofitted solar on homes and public buildings and changes to solar park planning definitions.

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