Sun blocked: ‘UK struggles to reach solar energy targets’

MPs have warned that the UK faces barriers to achieving its full solar potential due to a lack of affordable loans and inadequate battery storage

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Several barriers are preventing the UK from reaching its full solar potential, including access to finance and inadequate battery storage.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is calling on the government to consider facilitating affordable loans for households and extending VAT discounts to household battery storage.

The committee has also identified three key areas of regulatory failure that are delaying solar installation connections.

EAC is urging the government to collaborate with distribution network operators and National Grid ESO to seek short-term solutions to address these issues.

The EAC has launched a new inquiry called ‘Enabling sustainable electrification of the UK economy’ to examine the issue of grid connection in greater depth.

According to the EAC Chairman, Philip Dunne, delays in the industry are hindering solar energy’s full potential in the UK, despite the country having the potential to fulfill the government’s ambition of 70GW solar generating capacity.

Mr Dunne added that households face barriers in accessing finance and VAT charges on batteries, and the ability for low carbon energy sources to connect to the grid could threaten net zero.

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told ELN: “Solar is a key part of our plans to power up Britain, helping to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more secure homegrown energy. Nearly all of the UK’s solar capacity has been installed since 2010 – amounting to enough to power over four million homes.

“We recognise the challenge of connection delays, and we want to go further and faster – aiming for 70GW solar capacity by 2035. That is why we’re working to cut the time it takes to connect projects to the grid as part of our plans to power up Britain.”

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