REA : Nothing will stop solar panel now

REA : Nothing will stop solar panel now

REA : Nothing will stop solar panel now

The UK's solar energy market has turned out to be so strong and resilient that even the complete withdrawal of government subsidies would not halt its growth, according to one expert.

Speaking at the Sustainability Live 2015 conference at the NEC in Birmingham this week, Ray Noble - senior advisor for solar at the Renewable Energy Association (REA) - remarked that "nothing will stop solar now", edie.net reports.

"Even if a new government came in and said we are going to stop all subsidies tomorrow, the solar industry would continue on," he claimed. "It's a world industry and nothing will stop the prices coming down and therefore people will be using it."

This chimes with the reasoning behind the current government's closure of the Renewables Obligation subsidy scheme, which was undertaken last month on grounds the solar energy market has become competitive enough to succeed without taxpayer money.

Also speaking to edie.net at the conference, Stellar Solar Installation director Barry Marsh agreed solar power will continue to prove economically viable even after the tapering of government subsidies - albeit not in as strong terms as Mr Noble.

"With the degression process the government has in place, we have a future so long as the new government carries on," he said.

The experts' comments come in light of a raft of positive data releases for the solar energy market.

In January, the Department of Energy and Climate Change published figures that revealed 2014 saw an almost twofold increase in the UK's solar capacity, rising from 2.8 gigawatts in 2013 to around five gigawatts by the end of last year.

Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, hailed the uptick as evidence solar power "clearly works" in the UK's temperate climate, and estimated the market may create as many as 50,000 jobs between now and 2030.

More recently, the UK's steadily increasing embedded solar photovoltaic capacity prompted National Grid to predict that peak demand for on-grid electricity will reach an all-time low this summer, declining 900 megawatts on 2014's figures to 37.5 gigawatts.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, a survey carried out by market research firm Mintel found 60 per cent of UK consumers would be willing to consider having their own rooftop solar panels installed within the next five years.

Of the remainder, only 15 per cent were concerned the decision would affect the price of their property, while fewer than one in ten (eight per cent) said they didn't spend enough time in their home during daylight hours to justify the investment.

Only around half of respondents were fully aware of the various government and industry schemes available to help homes and businesses go green, with 55 per cent familiar with Feed-in Tariffs and 54 per cent au fait with the Green Deal. Just 50 per cent were aware of rent-a-roof programmes.

Mintel senior analyst Claudia Preedy said: "Although the market remains in its infancy, demand for solar panels has exploded since 2010 and there continues to be strong growth potential."



Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of Thinkstock