As a nation, we’re warming to solar more than ever before. Roof-mounted commercial solar panels may have once been regarded as a novelty by many onlookers, but today they provide organisations with a potent range of benefits, encompassing everything from better energy security to improved public perception and effective progress toward ESG objectives.
Now, as the climate crisis intensifies, the UK government has announced an ambitious new goal; under Kwasi Kwarteng, the business minister, Britain will triple its solar capacity by 2030. Obviously it’s a story that’s very much developing – so here’s where everything stands so far!
How does the government plan to triple the UK’s solar capacity?
The main thrusts of the government’s plan include a review of planning laws in England, which ministers hope will promote the development of new solar farms on non-protected land. Officials are also going to launch a consultation that will focus on how to make it easier to put solar panels on rooftops, including those of public buildings.
The aim is to increase solar from its current capacity of 14 gigawatts, all the way up to a planned capacity of 50 gigawatts. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also wants to get offshore wind up from 11 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts, and onshore wind from 15 gigawatts to 30 gigawatts.
Many of the government’s key initiatives are centred around establishing and developing new solar farms, which supporters say could provide enough energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes. But not everyone is fully on board – some plans for new farms are currently facing local resistance, as well as the scepticism of some Conservative MPs.
So what’s next in the government’s plan?
These proposals were all set out by the government in its British Energy Security Strategy, which was published on the 7th of April this year. We’re already on to the next step – on the 30th of May, the BEIS Committee launched a new inquiry with a focus on ‘Decarbonising the Power Supply sector’.
Essentially, the aim of the inquiry is to scrutinise the proposals set out in the Energy Security Strategy. That’ll be done by a cross-party group of MPs, who are going to use a series of public evidence sessions to examine what infrastructure the UK currently possesses, what else will be required to meet the Strategy’s targets, and what actions need to be taken immediately to further these goals. As a secondary focus, it also plans to take a closer look at the relationship between these proposals and other policy objectives in the government’s 2020 Energy White Paper, as well as its Net Zero Strategy.
As the preliminary stages of the inquiry have been getting underway, we’ve also had climate diplomats meeting in Bonn, Germany, for the latest round of UN negotiations. Amongst the attendees was John Kerry, the US envoy on climate change, who criticised a number of countries for not living up to the promises they made at the COP26 climate summit – an event which was widely regarded as underwhelming by climate activists. At the most recent gathering in Bonn, Mr Kerry made sure to clearly state that the Russian war in Ukraine is no excuse for other countries to prolong our dependence on fossil fuels, warning that ‘we are cooked’ if the conflict leads to a rise in demand for oil, and re-emphasising the importance of all countries pursuing their own realistic, actionable decarbonisation strategies.
And looking a little closer to home, if you’re currently thinking about your own decarbonisation plan, that’s exactly where we can help here at Low Carbon Energy. Our experts have over 30 years of combined experience, having helped SMEs and large corporations across a wide variety of sectors transform their business’ energy supply.
Each of our installations is bespoke, and we tailor your solution on your specific energy profile, helping us to maximise carbon reductions and save you up to thousands of pounds in energy bills. Feel free to look at our case studies for just a few examples of businesses which have reaped huge rewards from solar, such as Boeing and Irish Water. To find out how we can help you, feel free to give us a call today on 01282 421 489!