Image: Viridian

The UK will need 20 million ‘mini power stations’ to reach its net zero energy goals, with the need to create a policy framework for technologies like solar PV and energy storage an immediate priority, a group convened in Britain’s parliament this week heard.

While other rooms at Portcullis House, Westminster, were given over to the latest stages of Brexit on Monday last week, sister site attended the All-Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by Peter Aldous MP and convened to discuss energy storage and solar PV.

Net zero coordination

In a way, the relatively small installed base of residential batteries so far means that manufacturers are “very present” in the market and hold more accountability and brand awareness in a way that, say, some solar module manufacturers did not do in the early feed-in tariff (FiT) years.

Indeed, one attendee, from manufacturer ABB, said that due to the need to ensure best practises, the company is selling most of its systems directly through installers, so that installers can receive the benefit of ABB’s own training to safely handle and deploy systems. While this is the correct way to safely deploy systems, the attendee said, it is “limiting routes to market” for the equipment firm.

With the UK facing a net zero energy by 2050 target, the UK will need as many as 20 million ‘mini power stations’, Dr Andrew Crossland, an engineer with the MCS’ Battery Installation Standard division said.

RECC’s Virginia Graham added that the UK’s Smart Export Guarantee, the policy touted to replace the feed-in tariff, will need to offer clarity on measures to value and support batteries and other storage including heat. Longer term, Graham argued that if policies could be introduced to recognise the decarbonisation impacts of home energy storage systems.

“The value on things that save carbon should become apparent,” Graham said.

There won’t be any incentives “tomorrow”, but “these things will become more insistent and urgent as we move down the road [towards net zero]”.

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