For the first time ever, solar photovoltaics has been included as a key technology in the government’s Renewables Roadmap. The updated Renewables Roadmap sets out which renewable technologies the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) views as integral to achieving the UK’s 2020 renewable targets.

Following a five-fold increase in solar capacity, DECC has recognised that solar in the UK has the potential to form a significant part of the future energy generation mix. As part of the updated roadmap, DECC has modelled that the industry could install between 7-20GW of solar by 2020. However, the document warns that, “movement towards the top limit of deployment (20GW) is heavily dependent on decreasing the costs and being able to balance the UK grid network.” 

In order to drive uptake of solar in the UK and provide certainty for investors up until 2020, DECC will be publishing a Solar Strategy document in 2013 to complement the updated roadmap. DECC states: “The Strategy will reflect both government and industry perspectives as to the main challenges facing the deployment of solar PV. It will consider the scope for small-scale, community-owned, commercial and utility scale deployment in the UK and identify the barriers to growth that need to be addressed in each case. It will also consider how industry needs to secure cost reductions over time, and how this can best be monitored to inform the UK’s overall strategy, helping to set out the potential for economic benefit for the UK from industry growth.

“As part of this we will look to identify where we can learn any relevant lessons from overseas, in particular from countries which have larger and more developed solar PV sectors. We will also continue to pay attention to the developments in the global trading marketplace for solar PV. The European Commission has recently initiated an anti-subsidy investigation concerning imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules and key components (solar panels) from China, and the Commission has also opened an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar panels from China. BIS will monitor these recent developments as the department with responsibility for policy on world trade.”

The publication of a government-backed Solar Strategy will be warmly welcomed by the UK solar industry following the tumultuous nature of solar policy in recent times.

Commenting on the publication of the Renewables Roadmap, Edward Davey the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “Renewable energy is increasingly powering the UK’s grid, and the economy too. It’s a fantastic achievement that more than ten percent of our power now comes from renewables, given the point from which we started.

“Right now, getting new infrastructure investment into the economy is crucial to driving growth and supporting jobs across the country. I am determined that we get ahead in the global race on renewables and build on the big-money investments we’ve seen this year”.

The updated Renewable Energy Roadmap can be viewed here.