The Solar Trade Association (STA) has announced that it welcomed the progress report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which was released on June 29. The report identified some serious gaps in Government policy to deliver its legally binding carbon reduction targets. In particular the STA welcomed recommendations for the Government that:
- A programme of regular Contracts for Difference contracting is required as a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to delivering the low-carbon generation required to replace retiring generation beyond 2020, including ‘subsidy-free’ rounds for mature technologies that require long-term contracts.
- A clear policy road map to achieve the flexibility in the electricity system so distributed low-carbon generation, such as solar, can be maximized.
- New buildings should be constructed to be built to be highly energy efficient and that there was no robust evidence that doing so would appreciably reduce or delay new housing supply to meet Government targets for new housing
The urgency is reinforced by the Government figures also released on June 29 that confirmed that solar deployment rates remain stalled, with only a 0.2% increase or 25MW – equivalent to five factory roofs – in capacity delivered in the last 3 months. Also according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the UK has the fourth biggest challenge across the whole EU to reach its 15% renewable target by 2020.
Chris Hewett, policy manager at the STA, said: “The CCC has made it clear that solar power is now cheaper than that generated by fossil fuels. We know that investors are ready to deliver more projects, but need clarity of the future market before releasing more capital. We agree with their recommendation that Government moves quickly to fill a policy gap by creating a subsidy-free auction for long-term Contracts for Difference for mature low-carbon technologies.”