Scotland set for solar power boom over next five years

Renewable Energy

Solar power in Scotland could be set for a boom in the next five years, organisers of the annual solar conference in Edinburgh have said.

The Capital hosts the annual Scottish Renewables Solar Conference in September which will see more than 260 organisation come together to discuss the future of solar power in the country.

The renewable energy source is seen as a potential growth market in Scotland, with more than three times the current amount of solar power currently being constructed or awaiting construction.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables said solar power is “underrated” as an energy source despite the pressure on the government to make the move away from more polluting sources of electricity such as coal, gas and nuclear.

She said: “Solar power is underrated as a potential energy source for Scotland. We have got similar daylight hours than parts of the south England. That, put together with the way solar power costs have come down in recent years, makes solar power a viable option for renewable energy generation in Scotland.

“Support for large scale solar was pulled in 2015, and support for smaller schemes, like those on domestic rooftops, ended in March.

“Solar power is now very cheap and we are very very close to being able to develop on a ‘subsidy-free’ basis. When that happens, we should begin to see rooftop installations, community projects and solar farms becoming more common in Scotland, as they are in England.”

At the moment, Scotland has 69 MW of installed capacity providing energy to customers, with 245.5 MW installed capacity currently being built or with planning permission in place.

The conference, due to take place on September 26, will cover topics including the revenue and risks of solar power, alongside looking at the way government policy can be influenced to help grow solar.

Ms Smith added: “Like all forms of energy generation, solar has developed with a backdrop of government support. Government needs to tell industry that they want to have this technology as part of the energy mix, and that the power generated will have a market. That certainty over government policy has been difficult to maintain in recent years.

“Scottish Renewables’ annual Solar Conference is focused on the role that this technology can play as we create a clean energy system and and how we ensure that those technologies receive the support they require from government.

“There is enormous potential for the expansion of solar power in Scotland, delivering benefits to our energy system and to businesses, communities and households. In just a few years’ time we will see much less power generated by large fossil fuel power stations, with much more energy coming from renewable sources, and smaller energy generators close to where the power is being used. Solar will play a big part in smart energy because it is cheap, popular and easy to deploy.”

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