Solar Energy UK Manifesto

A close up picture of an array of solar panels installed on a house in Birchwood, Lincoln.

With the general election looming, Solar Energy UK has produced a guide for the UK’s journey towards clean, secure and affordable energy.

We find it increasingly important for the country to invest in renewable energy to address the climate crisis and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

With our Managing Director, Richard Jones’ recent appointment on the board at Solar Energy UK, Amelio Solar Energy finds it imperative for the country to focus on a sustainable energy future, which will lower energy bills, create jobs, and boost the economy.

Explaining the manifesto, Solar Energy UK Chief Executive, Chris Hewett said:

There is a race for clean power across the world. Not only to solve the climate crisis, but also to deliver secure, affordable and homegrown energy for the long term, and cut dependency on imported, polluting, expensive fossil fuels. 

The interest in this race is not only from actors on the global stage, but at every level, be it the UK’s legally binding climate targets, the hundreds of local authorities which have declared climate crises, right down to individual voters.

As someone who cares deeply about this issue, I was heartened to see polling from Climate Barometer showing that most people identify climate and environment as one of the top five issues they head into the ballot box, but I’m sure people hope that this is not an issue the election is fought over.

Data from the last two years clearly shows that public levels of support for action have not dropped. In light of all the challenges we face as a country, a cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy bills, the nation understands the future of energy security is renewable. The next Government must keep leading the way on this policy consensus, and empowerindustry to deliver it here, in the United Kingdom.

The solar and energy storage industries are at the heart of this economic transition and the next five years will see hugegrowth worldwide. The next Government must harness this opportunity. If it fails, then clean power invesîment will go to other players in the global race, who will reap the benefits. 

First, we need to see clear ambition. By the end of 2024, there is likely to be about 20GW of solar and 8GW of energy storage capacity in the UK. Solar Energy UK believes that by 2030 that needs to increase to 50GW of solar and 30GW of zero carbon energy storage.

This would be in line with the current Government target of 70GW of solar by 2035 and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) recommendation that the UK should have 60GW of short-term energy flexibility by 2035 to balance the variable nature of wind and solar.

The investment appetite is there, at all scales, but there are challenges which must be overcome, and this is where the Government can make a real difference. Our industry understands the challenges, but ask that the next government lights the way to our renewable energy future by:

1. Embracing UK Solar. 

2. Bringing the benefits of solar and storage to new homes. 

3. Turbo-charging the network for net zero. 

4. Building skills for British green jobs. 

5. Implement a renewables-first approach to market reform. 

As I’ve mentioned, commitment to renewable energy and a greener future should not be a political issue, and it is heartening to see support from across the political spectrum, but positive messaging only gets us so far. I believe these 5 actions will give the UK solar and energy storage industry what it needs to deliver for citizens by bringing their energy bills down, creating new jobs, and lifting the wider economy.

The renewable energy transition is not only a climate imperative, but the economic prize for seizing the opportunity is significant. Not one technology alone can provide the energy security we need to insulate us from international shocks, but a diverse mix, including solar and battery storage will lead us to this goal. 

In the first 100 days the next government should publish an ambitious roadmap to achieving 70GW by 2035, and 50GW by 2030. We ask that the next government launches this roadmap swiftly, and that it reflects industry’s requests to realise a sustainable, energy-secure United Kingdom.

To read the entire manifesto, please click here.