Monday, October 14, 2013

Does solar have a bright future in UK?

UK isn't exactly California or Spain when it comes to number of sunny days within the year. Yet the solar energy industry is the fastest growing industry in the world and UK wants to be an important part of global solar energy market.

The recent statement by UK's Energy Minister Greg Barker where he stated that UK wants to eight-fold multiply its solar power capacity, up to 10 GW by 2020, clearly demonstrates that UK wants solar energy to play important role in country's clean energy mix.

Barker remains optimistic about UK solar development further stating that 20 gigawatts of installed solar capacity is not only desirable but also potentially achievable within a decade.

The problem, not only with solar energy, but the rest of the renewable energy pack, is that the wide spread of renewable energy technologies has caused higher energy bills because these technologies are yet to achieve cost-competitiveness with traditional fuels.

What this means is that solar power is still unable to compete with fossil fuels without relying on subsidies and Barker hopes that this situation will soon change giving new solar installations grid parity with fossil fuels.

Only cost-competitive solar power can have a bright future in UK because people do not want to pay higher energy bills, even despite the fact that solar energy use reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change.

Britain needs to achieve EU goal of 15% of power from renewable energy sources by 2020, and solar power can become integral part in achieving this goal. Balancing the power grid and creating cost-effective solar power should become the first steps towards large growth of solar power in United Kingdom.