Bright and clear conditions helped solar break its all-time generation record in the UK on Monday, hitting 9.47GW at noon as it surpassed a previous peak of 9.38GW set in May 2017. As a result, the renewable power source met more than a quarter of the UK’s energy needs for the day, according to the National Grid.
Business Green 14th May 2019 read more »
In this STA Blog, Chris Hewett of the Solar Trade Association explores the short-term prospects of subsidy-free solar in the UK. Now the dust has settled on the end of the Feed-in-Tariff, the UK solar market is looking ahead to a completely subsidy-free era. This is, of course, unchartered territory for the industry and it’s fair to say there is anticipation and fear, in equal measure for the next couple of years particularly. At the STA we’ve looked at the prospects for growth from 2019 to 2023 and it looks like deployment will be on the rise again, but don’t expect another ‘solarcoaster’ ride. This time it feels like a sustainable growth is possible, but the pace is very hard to predict. We looked at the current market conditions, came up with a range of assumptions about future policy and electricity prices, then coupled this with what we know anecdotally of our members activity in 2019 and 2020. The results show a definite upturn on its way, albeit not yet to the heights of deployment we saw towards the end of the Renewable Obligation.
STA 14th May 2019 read more »
THE leading voice for solar in the UK is calling on the Government to scrap “perverse” HMRC proposals to change the way the reduced-rate of VAT is applied. The Solar Trade Association (STA) has joined forces with other bodies representing the smart energy industry by signing a joint letter to Finance Secretary Mel Stride and Energy Minister Claire Perry. There are concerns certain schemes will be put at risk under the proposals, both in regards to solar and other household renewables. The body sees this as in direct conflict with the declaration of a climate emergency by the UK Government earlier this month. They say the proposals threaten not only to increase the cost burden on some households who wish to install solar and battery storage, they would also place a significant administrative burden on solar installation companies who have been navigating increasingly difficult market conditions. “We are deeply unhappy with these VAT proposals which fly in the face of the recently declared climate emergency,” STA director of advocacy and new markets, Léonie Greene. “While the bulk of solar-only installations will not be affected, collective purchase schemes and combined solar and battery storage schemes may be put at significant risk. This is particularly perverse when the Government is backing a smart energy system, which would see homes with storage helping to support the grid, saving the UK vast amounts of carbon and money,” added Greene. Under the current VAT rules, the 5% reduced rate of VAT applies to installations of solar, and combined installations of the energy conversion method and storage, as solar is listed under the energy-saving materials and heating equipment list. If implemented, HMRC’s proposals will lead to the cost of an installation being charged at the full 20% VAT rate but only in circumstances where the cost of the materials exceeds 60% of the total cost of the installation. Installations typically consist of two elements – materials and labour and solar has an exceptionally high requirement for skilled labour. Committee on Climate Change CEO Chris Stark said that the VAT proposals would hinder the UK’s ability to reach net zero. Speaking at a BEIS Select Committee evidence session, he said: “We will need to throw everything at this challenge, including onshore wind and solar for that matter. Anything that makes it harder is clearly not in line with the net-zero challenge overall.”
The National 15th May 2019 read more »