The Solar Trade Association calls for the National Grid to look again at its predictions for solar power in coming decades
The forecasts published in 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.
Its two green ‘scenarios’ predict only 7.5GW and 8.5GW of installed solar capacity by 2020, whereas the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is estimating 12GW with a stated ambition for 20GW, which the solar sector fully supports.
The National Grid’s figure on what is currently in place – 2.3GW– is being challenged as not reflecting the reality, argues the Solar Trade Association (STA). Analysis undertaken by it argues that solar power will match onshore wind on price by around 2017/18. The industry believes it 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.
“It is frustrating that both the government and the National Grid are basing important decisions on out of date data,” said Paul Barwell, Chief Executive, STA. “This undermines what the solar industry has achieved so far and risks holding back its potential. The number of solar installations in place is higher than in official statistics, and our industry’s ambition is even higher.”
Mr Barwell went on to state that the cost of solar energy has fallen “dramatically” and the STA is confident that solar will become cheap enough to compete without public subsidy by the end of the decade, but only if it had a “stable policy framework”. Using accurate data was seen an essential part of that.
Caption The solar sector may be underestimated in its current and future potential by the National Grid and the DECC.