The UK solar industry is at a crossroads. Deployment of 5MW+ scale PV projects has been at a standstill for over 7 months. This comes at a time when new generation capacity is needed.
The recent Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) report has warned of a potential power gap due to new nuclear projects being delayed as well as two existing plants being offline whilst regulators inspect cracks in their graphite reactor cores.
It therefore seems bizarre to continue to exclude solar, and onshore wind for that matter, from CfD auctions, given the fact that they are the UK's cheapest electricity generation technologies. They can also be deployed very quickly compared to other technologies. This desperately needs to be reconsidered to help the UK decarbonise the electricity system quickly.
Subsidy-free solar driven by corporate PPAs has huge potential. This article suggests that 250-400MW could be deployed this year including 60MW from GRIDSERVE across two sites co-located with battery storage. More support is needed however to ensure that UK solar can achieve it's potential as quickly as possible so we are deploying GW's of solar each year.
According to the STA, large scale solar is not entirely dead as 250-400 MW of corporate PPA-driven solar projects – some integrating storage – may see the light of the day this year, with more expected from 2020 onward. If confirmed, those numbers could lead to the deployment of 650 MW to 1 GW of new solar capacity this year and mark the beginning of a resurgence for the U.K. solar market up to 2023, when cumulative capacity could reach 17-20 GW, said the trade body. That would compare with only 285.6 MW last year and 943.4 MW in 2017 after the bumper 2.18 GW added in 2016.