Senior leaders in the solar industry have told the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee that solar power must be installed in new homes as standard.
Ian Rippin, Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) CEO told MPs that having photovoltaic panels on new home rooftops should be a fundamental “mainstay” of the Future Homes Standard to meet the legal goal of cutting emissions by 80% compared to homes built under the old regulations.
He said that:
“The problem now is that it’s in pockets, depending on local building regulations.”
Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of the trade association Solar Energy UK confirmed that expectations were that “pretty much every English home” built from 2025 will have some solar generation capacity.
When quizzed on the government target to have 70GW of solar power capacity in place by 2035, up from an estimated 15.5GW today, Chris Hewett replied that the goal is “definitely enough… and it’s feasible”. He added that solar power is comparably cheap to onshore wind and is the fastest renewable to deploy.
Increasing electricity generation from its current 4%, to 10% of the country’s demand, is expected to meet the growing power needs resulting from increasing electrification of heating and transportation.
As is the case today, expectations are that about two-thirds of capacity in 2035 will be in solar farms, with the rest split between residential and commercial sectors. But Chris Hewett added that there is “definitely going to be some floating solar” in the UK by then, the technology having been implemented elsewhere in the world many years ago. Furthermore, Chris Hewett told MPs that it is “absolutely certain that there is going to be a lot more solar post-2035.”
Obtaining timely connections to the grid was shown in the written evidence submitted to the committee to be one of the biggest barriers to expanding solar power, with waiting times extending well into the 2030s.