When solar will reach zero subsidy and grid parity is an issue of critical importance. The levels of damaging political interference in the solar industry have only strengthened the desire for economic freedom as soon as possible. We all agree that solar will become subsidy-free, it is a question of how and when. ‘When’ particularly matters: we want to see local solar companies in as strong a position as possible, ready and able to compete in a global market. However talk of subsidy-free solar is hollow unless it’s accompanied by a plan of how to get there. Unfortunately DECC’s Solar Strategy did not deliver this.
Over the last year or so the STA has observed a worrying shift in energy policy, driven in part by the EU, but also within the UK. This year, the European Commission published its environmental and energy state aid guidelines for 2014-2020. The UK government has certainly interpreted them zealously in categorising the 18 month old large-scale solar sector as ‘mature’ and pushing solar into a premature auction with clearly established technologies such as onshore wind and hydro.
Closing the renewable obligation (RO) on >5MW underlines the risk our industry is up against – both political and budgetary. With the current inability of the commercial rooftop sector to take up the slack as well as the pending three year feed-in tariff (FiT) review taking place in the second half of 2015, the STA launched our Solar Independence Campaign, and as part of that our Solar Independence Plan: the path to zero subsidy by 2020. The plan is helping us to cut through what has become a highly complex and piecemeal policy framework for solar. What we are showing is that with intelligent policy design the government can deliver a much better result for the industry, even within resource constraints.
Read full article on Solar Power Portal website.