Creation of a solar target could increase confidence within the Scottish solar industry. Image: MaxPixel.

Cross-party MSPs have released a letter calling on Scotland to set a target of between 4-6GW of solar power capacity, to help it achieve its full potential.

The Scottish Government currently has no solar generation target in place for solar, despite an offshore wind target of 11GW by 2030 and an 8-12GW target for onshore wind

In a bid to introduce a target and increase confidence in the Scottish solar sector, MSPs from the SNP, Conservatives, Labour, Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats have called on the government to instate a target of between 4-6GW.

Solar Energy Scotland, who is also a signatory of the letter, stated this would put Scotland in line with the UK target of 70GW capacity by 2035. The organisation has previously called for a minimum target of 4GW of installed solar capacity by 2030.

“Such a goal would be consistent with the Scottish Government’s existing targets for onshore and offshore wind, alongside the political consensus in Holyrood that solar can deliver for the nation,” Thomas McMillan, chair of Solar Energy Scotland, said of the letter.

“As a signal of intent, it would also encourage investment in the burgeoning sector – and meeting the target would be an instrumental tool not just in meeting climate emission reduction targets, but also to help alleviate fuel poverty and reduce business running costs.”

The letter highlighted support for “recent commitments by the Scottish Government to remove some of the barriers to more rapid deployment” with reference to the consultation on Permitted Development Rights for solar on commercial buildings. It has pledged to consult on lifting the need to obtain planning permission for larger solar installations on non-domestic buildings early next year.

A new planning system, National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), had also been released earlier this month showing how planners would be expected to treat solar developments across Scotland. The revision is to be considered by members of Scottish Parliament who are due to vote on its adoption before the new year.

An important aspect to consider for the scaling of the solar industry within Scotland is the possible expansion of green jobs which will be greatly needed as the UK transitions to a net zero world. This is referenced within the letter which indicated that the creation of a solar target could indeed create around 9,000 green jobs in the solar space by 2030.

This includes a range of roles such as solar installers and project developers, site planners, component and other manufacturing technicians, software and system designers, construction and trade roles, and communications and finance specialists.

The letter's signatories include Fergus Ewing MSP, Paul McLennan MSP, Brian Whittle MSP, Colin Smyth MSP, Mark Ruskell MSP, Liam McArthur MSP, Willie Rennie MSP and McMillan.