Greg Barker, the minister for climate change, has promised to put “rocket-boosters” under the commercial and industrial solar sectors in the UK.
Addressing delegates at the British Photovoltaic Association’s Commercial and Domestic Rooftop Solar event in London, Barker once again reiterated the government’s desire to increase the uptake of solar on roofs across the UK.
The minister said that the government’s ambition to promote mid-sized commercial rooftop is “clear and completely unambiguous”.
In order to help promote the sector, the minister trailed a few announcements designed to kickstart deployment in the sector. In terms of regulation, Barker confirmed that the government is working on lifting the floor for permitted development, from 50kW to 1MW.
Barker said: “I can confirm today that the Department of Communities & Local Government will consult over the summer on permitted development to simplify the bureaucracy of installing solar on non-domestic properties, on larger roofs – from 50kW to 1MW.
“I can also confirm that we are examining whether there are inexpensive ways to allow the transfer of solar panels between buildings when the user moves, without losing the government subsidy.”
Although no concrete reforms to the regulation were announced, the solar sector should welcome the news that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is considering implementing the changes outlined above.
In addition, Barker announced further measures to “supercharge the solar rooftop sector” including an industry roundtable designed to bring together all stakeholders. He said: “I will also be hosting a roundtable on 9 September to bring together landlords, estate agents, lawyers, large retailers and solar developers to agree practical steps to lift barriers which prevent deployment of solar because of the division between landlords and tenants.”
The minister reiterated the huge potential of solar on rooftops in the UK. Barker noted that an internal study in DECC has revealed that there is a quarter of a million hectares of south-facing commercial roof space available to installers. He added: “Even if we used a fraction of this, we would be well on our way to my 20GW by 2020 ambition.”
Barker concluded: “Generating clean electricity onsite, at an attractive price, with bang up to date technology, makes strong economic sense. Work with us, to take the solar revolution to the next stage.”