The UK Governments Solar Initiatives to Solve our Energy Crisis
As a nation, we’re turning to solar more than ever before. Roof-mounted solar panels may have once been regarded as a novelty by many onlookers, but today they provide organisations and home owners with an effective range of benefits, encompassing everything from better energy security to improved public perception and effective progress towards ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) objectives.
Now, as the climate crisis intensifies, the UK government has announced an ambitious new goal; under Kwasi Kwarteng, the business minister, Britain will triple its solar capacity by 2030. It’s a story that’s very much developing – so here’s where everything stands so far!
Why does the UK want to triple its Solar capacity?
In October 2021, NAO announced that the government had set an ambitious target to decarbonise the power sector by 2035, subject to security of supply. At the same time, demand for electricity is expected to increase significantly as other sectors, such as transport and heating in buildings, switch to electricity to reduce emissions. Decarbonising, while also meeting increased demand, will require government to manage a range of complex challenges. These include ensuring there is the right mix of technologies; attracting investment in new generation, and modernising energy networks.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for decarbonising the power sector as part of its overall responsibility for achieving net zero, while maintaining security of electricity supply, and affordability for consumers and taxpayers.
How does the government plan to increase the UKs solar capacity?
The main thrusts of the government’s plan include a review of planning laws in England, which ministers hope will promote the development of new solar farms on non-protected land. Officials are also going to launch a consultation that will focus on how to make it easier to put solar panels on rooftops, including those of public buildings.
The aim is to increase solar from its current capacity of 14 gigawatts, all the way up to a planned capacity of 50 gigawatts. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also wants to get offshore wind up from 11 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts, and onshore wind from 15 gigawatts to 30 gigawatts.
Many of the government’s key initiatives are centred around establishing and developing new solar farms, which supporters say could provide enough energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes. But not everyone is fully on board – some plans for new farms are currently facing local resistance, as well as the scepticism of some Conservative MPs.
What’s next for the UK?
Urgently decarbonising power is one of the most important challenges of the next decade; it is vital to the decarbonisation of transport, buildings, heating and industry. However, this is only achievable through significant policy and regulatory support from government.
NAO sates that the government is still working on understanding what is required to achieve a resilient and decarbonised power sector. Along with how government recognises and manages risks to resilience and affordability in a decarbonised power sector.
So do we have any great Solar projects already in the UK to support these plans?
Yes, we do! Here are the top 5 biggest solar farms in the UK to date.
- Foresight Solar Fund, Shotwick
Located in Shotwick, in North Wales, rests the largest solar farm in the UK. Owned by the Foresight Solar Fund, this farm is just one of many that Foresight Solar Fund managers.
Foresight Solar Fund Limited (“the Company” or “FSFL”) is a Jersey-registered, closed‑ended investment company investing in a diversified portfolio of ground-based solar PV and battery storage assets in the UK and internationally.
Shotwick Solar Park is the largest solar field in the UK as of 2022 having a capacity of 72.209MW.
- MOD Lyneham
Just behind at number 2, the MOD’s first line of defence against rising energy costs is the massive solar farm in Lyneham.
This solar park could become even larger in the future. A spokesperson confirmed to the Solar Power Portal that the area “has the capacity to produce 86MW” should the 90-hectare site be expanded, it currently has the capacity of 69.8MW.
- Owl’s Hatch Solar Park
Approximately 250 acres of land are protected by this solar park, as well as 15,460 tonnes of Co2 avoided.
This park powers over 17,000 homes with a capacity of 51.94MW.
- Wroughton Airfield Solar Park
One of the largest ground-mounted solar parks in the UK with a capacity of 50MW.
This park was redeveloped by turning the aircraft hangers on the defunct World War II airfield into a clean energy haven.
- West Raynham
Another park built on a former airbase; the park has the potential to provide green energy to up to 14,000 UK homes per year.
Located in Norfolk, this park was completed in 2015 and has since been providing 49.9MW of solar energy to the area.
How can I be part of this ambitious bright future?
Looking a little closer to home, if you’re currently thinking about your own decarbonisation plan, that’s exactly where we can help here at Flowing Energy Solutions. Our experts have over 40 years of combined experience, having helped home owners, SMEs and large corporations across a wide variety of sectors transform their personal and business’ energy supply.
Each of our installations are bespoke, and we tailor your solution on your specific energy profile, helping us to maximise carbon reductions and save you up to thousands of pounds in energy bills.
To find out how we can help you, feel free to give us a call today on 0191 406 2011 or email email@example.com for your free no obligations quote setting you up for a greener brighter future.