The UK solar industry currently has 8.3GW of ground-mounted large-scale (>250kW) solar farms installed, across almost 1,200 sites, the majority of which are over 5MW in size. Until now, module selection has been seen by many as a commodity affair, often driven by minimising project capex, and less focused on the quality and reliability that ultimately underpin returns for long-term asset holders and investors. This article explains how the next phase of UK solar growth will see changes in module supply and energy-yield capability, owing to the rapid changes in the module supply landscape and the new technologies now coming through in mass production, and how this will impact the design of solar farms and the module suppliers that will be driving this.
Solar Portal 16th Oct 2017 read more »
All low carbon technologies should be able to access the same markets and compete on an equal basis for contracts according to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), whose latest policy consultation flies in the face of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy (CGS). Last week the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released its long-overdue policy paper for how the UK will meet its commitments under the Climate Change Act to 2032. In a move that has since been heavily criticised, it left solar as the only renewable energy technology not able to access large scale government support after onshore wind was let back into the Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism in island locations. The day after the CGS was published the NIC released its national infrastructure priorities consultation which places carbon among the top three biggest threats to the country’s prosperity and quality of life over the coming decades. It points to ‘the imperative for a clear policy framework’ in low carbon energy and calls for the ‘successful exploitation of the falling costs of low carbon technologies’. As both the NIC’s document and the CGS state, solar technology costs have fallen by 80% since 2008/09 and yet the benefit of this to consumers has continued to be left absent from government policy. The Commission has therefore said it will consider how technology neutrality can be applied to government contracts “as far as possible” and promote fair market access across all technologies on the basis of how they compete on price. The document, released on Friday (13 October) has been supported by the Solar Trade Association (STA), which last week accused government of“artificially holding back” solar PV in its plans.
Solar Power Portal; 16th Oct 2017 read more »