Scotland ‘actively seeking to encourage greater deployment of solar’

Despite the UK government making moves to scale back the level of support given to solar technology, Scotland remains committed to boosting the technology’s deployment according to its Energy Minister.

Speaking in the aftermath of proposals to scrap Renewable Obligation (RO) support and change feed-in tariff support for solar, the Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of the renewables industry and solar is an important part of our renewable mix.

“We are actively seeking to encourage greater deployment of solar on the roofs of more Scottish homes and businesses to help them generate their own cheaper and greener supply of electricity.”

Labour shadow energy minister, Lewis Macdonald underscored the level of political support for solar in Scotland by welcoming the increased level of deployment. He added: “Installation of solar power projects across the UK has increased dramatically over the last few years thanks to the fall in the price of solar panels.”

The level of political and public support for solar is something that chairman of the Solar Trade Association Scotland, John Forster, wants to harness. He said: “The reduction in subsidies is continuing alongside a significant reduction in the cost of solar. In the past four years solar costs have reduced by 70%, taking us closer to a level of parity with government support.

“The targets for 2020 in Scotland, to have all electricity supplied through renewables is ambitious and therefore it is imperative that we see solar playing a key role in this. Not only will this support a reduction in carbon emissions, it will provide lower cost energy that can play a significant role in alleviating fuel poverty in Scotland.”

Forster is urging Scottish businesses to explore the potential of solar, arguing that the technology can “reduce operating costs...help them become more attractive to their supply chain...and create a significant number of new jobs.”

One of the most controversial proposals from the UK government’s recent move to “control the cost of renewable energy”, is the government’s desire to remove grandfathering of RO projects completed between 22 July 2015 and 1 April 2015. However, the potential policy change does not apply to projects in Scotland, whose government decides how the RO is operated independent of UK government.