Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has forecast that solar power could be used to produce as much as not far off 4% of the electricity here in the UK by 2020. That is around 14GW of capacity with this being a considerable increase on where we were by the end of last year – 5GW.
A reason for the government making this prediction is that the price of solar panels has reduced significantly in recent years. However, it should be borne in mind that there has been a huge increase in the solar capacity in the first quarter of this year that may have been due to the fact that many commercial customers have been keen to purchase solar panels as subsidies are being withdrawn on solar farms above 5MW capacity as at 31st March 2015.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see what happens during the remainder of this year following the removal of these subsidies. For instance, are we going to see a major reduction in the number of solar panels being installed? Yes, subsidies for the installation of residential solar panel systems will still continue but solar farms have been making a significant contribution to increasing the overall capacity being taken up in the UK.
It will be interesting to look back in years to come and judge whether it would have been better for the government to have continued to provide subsidies to such solar farms for some time to come. After all, the government is keen to ensure that the UK achieves its renewable energy targets and carbon emission targets by 2020. It is no doubt extremely confident that these targets can still be attained even by making such a change. We shall have to wait and see.
As always, we would very much welcome the thoughts of our readers.