UK government solar data has “serious flaws” says solar association


The UK’s Solar Trade Association has called on the country’s government to address serious flaws in the accuracy of its photovoltaic deployment data following the publication of its latest statistics.

According to the STA, solar deployment in 2019 was down by over 60MW compared to 2018, suggesting the slowest year for the industry since 2010.

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However, the statistics fail to accurately capture PV systems sized above 50kW, with no update to the ‘50 kW to ≤ 5 MW’ category since March 2019, and only one large-scale site added to ‘> 25 MW’ category in 2019, a 34.7MWp array completed in December by GRIDSERVE. The STA can confirm that a number of systems larger than 50kW were installed and powered-up throughout 2019, including a 50MWp array completed in December by Next Energy Solar Fund.

STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said: “Continuing to publish incomplete datasets is extremely negligent and inconsiderate of the effect it can have on investor confidence. They paint a picture of a stagnating market, when in fact solar in the UK is stable and recovering after a difficult couple of years. The industry continues to gather momentum in the subsidy-free era, and we expect to see a glut of projects deployed over the coming years, some underpinned by Power Purchase Agreements and others that are purely merchant.”

The Committee on Climate Change estimates more than 40GW of solar PV will be required by 2030 in order for the UK to remain on track with its carbon budgets. STA forecasting estimates that less than half of this will be deployed under a business as usual scenario, and significant policy intervention by government will be required in order to deliver an average of 2.5GW additional annual solar deployment necessary to reach this.

The STA is calling on the UK government to deliver policies in 2020 to unlock solar’s potential, including providing a route to market through regular clean power auctions.

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