During our webinar, 40GW solar deployment by 2030, Paul Wheelhose MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and The Islands, offered insight into how The Scottish government is approaching solar in Scotland. While the Minister could not attend live, his message was read by Judith Patten MBE.
[If you want to hear more from the Minister, watch our webinar “Meet the Minister” in which he discusses the importance of a green recovery and our continued transition to a net-zero economy, including the need to accelerate action to reduce emissions from heating our homes and buildings.]
“The key message I want to convey to you today is this:
“The Scottish Government is committed to encouraging and promoting solar in Scotland. We recognise that energy from solar PV can contribute to our targets for renewable electricity and renewable heat, and support the future decarbonisation of our electricity supply, and I want to ensure that happens.
“We have provided financial support to a number of local solar projects in communities across Scotland, from remote rural islands to towns and cities, and are keen to do more.
“Indeed, I had the pleasure of visiting the island of Canna last year, where the community had installed an integrated wind, solar and battery storage project. It is a fantastic project and highlights the flexibility and adaptability of solar.
“However, I recognise that progress on solar deployment has been slower in Scotland than in other part of the UK, despite Scotland, regardless of supplying some low hanging fruit for material to be used by stand-up comedians, actually having good annual solar radiation , particularly to the south and east of the Highland line, and we should make more of the complementary nature of solar with other renewables technologies.
“Understandably, solar typically performs especially strongly in Summer, when typically, we have lower wind energy output. Hence, as part of an energy system, investment in solar makes good sense and the technology lends itself to locations where other technologies may face higher local resistance to visual impacts, enabling communities where that is an issue to benefit from the growth in renewable energy. Solar also has potential to dovetail with aspirations in areas such as green hydrogen and in concert with heat and electricity storage technologies.
“I am keen to continue to work with the Solar Trade Association to explore how Scotland can improve take up and maximise its solar potential and, of course, we know that we need to double electricity production if we are to decarbonise our heat and transport sectors – with this being crucial to our net zero ambitions for 2045.
“As we move out of the Covid-19 crisis, it is clear the development of renewables will play an increasing role in powering a green recovery, and solar energy as part of the diverse energy mix, will have a key role and we know, in the absence of a Feed in Tariff, it is a technology that may be better suited to the UK Government Smart Export Guarantee and this may be attractive for private and community projects.
“I was pleased to welcome Chris Clark, chair of STA Scotland,[who is a panellist today] to the first meeting of the Renewables Energy Strategic Leadership Group last month and I am confident that Chris will represent the solar sector admirably on the group going forward. I look forward to working with Chris as we look to develop our Climate Change Plan and, next year, refresh Scotland’s Energy Strategy.”