Greg Barker recently spoke at a BPVA event and told industry attendees that the UK is the most exciting solar PV market in Europe.
He urged us forward and predicted total capacity to rise to 3.5GW by the end of March, with a note of caution aimed at preserving public support by avoiding development of inappropriate green field sites.
My own feeling is that the large solar field arrays are a vital part of us hitting our targets and that, in general, public support is good. Solar will become an acceptable part of our landscape and we shouldn’t shy away from that. There is no benefit to anyone in closing off any avenue for solar however I do think perhaps there should be more emphasis on large commercial roof installations. It makes sense to me that industrial or retail premises with high energy usage and large open roof space provide the perfect opportunity for solar investment. It also seems sensible that the grid is less likely to creak in these urban locations.
As foreign developers approach the UK solar big-field market, I’m hoping our own UK investors and installers are leading the way. Meanwhile, the commercial roof space market is an option for proven installation companies of all scales. With this in mind, we are helping our own installer customers to grow the market by enabling them to fund such projects. We have recently launched Zenex Partner Projects, aimed at working with installers to help them fund solar schemes which might otherwise have been out of their reach in terms of cash flow. We’re all doing our bit to drive support for solar and as Mr Barker said: “I’ll be glad when solar is no longer seen as ‘alternative’ energy.”