STA Scotland proposes incentives to reach 2020 goals

Scotland and solar power – a good-looking partnership. An in-roof solar PV installation in Montrose, Scotland. (Photo: STA Scotland)
Scotland and solar power – a good-looking partnership. An in-roof solar PV installation in Montrose, Scotland. (Photo: STA Scotland)

The Scottish Solar Trade Association has proposed a list of 20 “Asks” for the Scottish Government to reach Scotland’s 2020 goal of 100 % renewable electricity. These key asks include, but are not limited to, retaining the 5% reduced rate of VAT for all domestic solar retrofit, implementing an ambitious solar action plan for Scotland and establishing financial support mechanisms for PV and solar thermal.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) Scotland emphasises that, despite recent policy changes in the support of solar energy by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), there is still a strong support for photovoltaics and solar thermal energy in Scotland. Contrary to the DECC’s decision in July 2015 to end “grandfathering” for solar PV projects in England and Wales, the Scottish Government retained the supportive policy for solar energy “To maintain a consistent policy framework until the Renewables Obligation closes”, as the Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, put it in a statement.

At the moment, the total capacity of renewables in Scotland is already at 7.5 GW with more than 5 GW of this being onshore wind plants. More solar energy would provide a balance to the mix of renewables in Scotland. To support the Scottish Government’s plan to reach 100 % of electricity demand from renewables by 2020 and to supplement the new Energy Strategy for Scotland, STA Scotland proposed an action list with 20 key points.

Bridging the gap to Scotland’s 2020 goals

These “Asks” include a Solar Action Plan for Scotland with a proposed capacity addition of 2 GW for solar PV and 200,000 m² or 141 MWth for solar thermal energy by 2020. The proposals focus on policy changes to create financial support mechanisms and guidance for new and existing solar installations. Additionally, the “Asks” cover financial aspects such as the reduced VAT rate of 5 % on solar retrofits or anti-dumping tariffs on solar imports, but also coordinative efforts to establish a UK Grid Strategy.

John Forster, Chairman of STA Scotland and of Scottish solar business Forster Energy, said: “There are a number of simple, practical things the Scottish Government can do to boost solar north of the border, whether it is encouraging wind and solar to share grid capacity or changes to planning. We are also keen that the Scottish Government looks at options to establish its own financial support mechanisms for solar to bridge the gap between now and the early 2020s when we hope to see mainstream solar projects become subsidy-free.”

Click here to get to the pdf with the complete STA Scotland proposals.

Tanja Peschel

Further articles:

Photovoltaics in the UK: What to expect for 2016?

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