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National Grid told to revise solar power figures

Solar industry says operator’s estimates for solar do not reflect reality.

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The Solar Trade Association is calling for the National Grid to look again at its predictions for solar power in coming decades.

In forecasts published by the grid operator yesterday, the National Grid’s statistics on current and future solar arrays are said to fall far below other estimates and need to be revised upwards.

Solar Trade Association Chief Executive Paul Barwell commented:

“It is frustrating that both the Government and the National Grid are basing important decisions on out of date data. This undermines what the solar industry has achieved so far and risks holding back solar’s potential.”

“The number of solar installations in place is higher than in official statistics.”

“The cost of solar has fallen dramatically. We forecast that solar will become cheap enough to compete without public subsidy by the end of the decade, but only if it has a stable policy framework. Using accurate data is an essential part of that.”

The National Grid’s two green scenarios predict only 7.5GW and 8.5GW of installed solar capacity by 2020, whereas even the Department for Energy and Climate Change is predicting 12GW, and the Minister’s ambition is for 20GW, which the industry fully supports.

Even the National Grid’s figure on what is in place today – 2.3GW – is being challenged as not reflecting the reality on the ground.

Analysis undertaken by the Solar Trade Association shows that solar power will match onshore wind on price by around 2017/18. The industry has also shown that in conjunction with storage, it will be able to compete with nuclear power well before the new nuclear plants currently being planned come online.

The Solar Trade Association’s analysis is consistent with mainstream analysis including by e.g. the IEA, Fraunhofer, EPIA, McKinsey, Deutsche Bank and Bloomberg.

The IPCC report on climate change mitigation from earlier this year makes clear that solar is the world’s fastest growing energy technology with the best ‘technical potential’.

Concluding, Solar Trade Association Chief Executive Paul Barwell said:

“Solar could one day in the future meet a third of UK electricity needs from south-facing roofs and facades alone. The National Grid needs to recognise solar’s huge potential to generate a sizeable chunk of the UK’s power.”


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