Nova Innovations Floating Solar Leith Scotland
Scotland scraps 2030 emissions targets, reducing faith in solar. Image: Nova Innovations

Scottish net zero minister Mairi McAllan confirmed yesterday (18 April) that the Scottish government will not reach their 2030 emissions target.

McAllan told the Scottish Parliament that the flagship target of a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is out of reach and will be scrapped. It will be replaced with a system measuring emissions every five years.

Despite accepting that the 2030 target is out of reach, the minister insisted that the target to meet net zero by 2045 will “steadfastly” remain.

Other new measures to cut emissions were announced, including an integrated ticketing system for public transport in Scotland with a first step of publishing a new smart ticketing delivery strategy in 2024.

There is little clarity on new targets that might replace what McAllan has described as a “minor legislative change”. Material changes from the ditched target may be small, but this is the first Green government in the world to back scrapping emissions targets.

Scottish solar specifics

This overarching news follows the announcement from June 2023 that Scotland’s interest-free solar home loans scheme was ended abruptly, according to Solar Energy UK.

The scheme covered residential solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage systems. Solar Energy UK said “This decision will slow deployment, lower the pace of decarbonisation and tend to restrict everyone but the wealthy and middle-class from enjoying the benefits of solar power.”

Solar Energy UK reported that the announcement was not accompanied by a press release or subject to prior warning, with no consultation or grace period offered.

This meant that Home Energy Scotland’s loans will now only be available “as part of a package together with a heat pump or high heat retention storage heaters. As a result, applications for solar PV and/or energy storage systems only will no longer be eligible,” according to the Home Energy Scotland website.

Despite this support scheme being revoked, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) revealed in January 2024 that small-scale solar installations in Scotland increased by 174% in 2023 compared to 2020.

In total, nearly 26,000 solar panels were installed in Scotland in 2023, which is the most ever recorded by the certification scheme and a 174% increase from just over 9,000 installed in 2020.

The announcement follows the MCS confirming in December that 2023 had been the UK’s “best ever” year for renewable energy and heating installations, with a total of 220,500 MCS-certified installations having been registered across 2023.

This article first appeared on Solar Power Portal’s sister publication Current±.