Scottish lobby group praises plan to install 4-6 GW of solar by 2030


The Scottish government has committed to deploy between 4 GW and 6 GW of solar capacity by 2030 subject to industry support, the Scottish government has confirmed to pv magazine. The commitment hinges on the condition of large-scale solar projects providing an appropriate level of community benefit, the government document said.

Scottish Renewables, the country’s leading renewable energy association, has published a press release welcoming the news. The organization said the target would be included in the government’s upcoming Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.

Helen Melone, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said in the press release that these targets were what the association has been long calling for, but added that there must be a “clear plan with key milestones” showing how to get there.

Planning should cover targets for commercial rooftop, domestic rooftops and for utility-scale, ground-mounted solar, she said. “And it must ensure that Scotland’s public sector harnesses the full solar energy potential of its buildings by 2030.”

In January, the government published its Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan – its roadmap for the country to achieve its “climate change ambitions,” according to a government website. It is expected the final copy will be published “in 2023,” according to the draft plan. pv magazine has asked the Scottish government when the final plan will be published but has not received a response.

The Scottish government wants to achieve more than 20 GW of low-cost renewable generation capacity by 2030, the draft policy states. But unlike other renewable energy sources, such as onshore wind, it does not include specific solar installation targets. The draft foreshadows that the final version will have these PV-specific milestones.

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According to Scottish Renewables, as of the first quarter of 2023, onshore wind accounted for 9 GW of the country’s total installed capacity, which is well over half of the 14 GW of total installed capacity. PV recorded the lowest installed capacity at only 522 MW.

The Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transitions Plan, however, shows the government’s appetite to increase installed solar capacity.

pv magazine print edition

The November issue of pv magazine, due out next week, is dominated by the issue of global oversupply and examines the effects of a solar glut in the European Union, the United States, and other markets. We turn the spotlight on PV developments in South Korea, Taiwan, and Africa and update readers on technological progress in thin films, kerfless wafering, and mass produced heterojunction PV.

“We see a strong role for solar thermal, as well as domestic and commercial solar PV combined with battery storage systems – which have the potential to help reduce consumer bills,” said the draft plan.

The draft document said the government’s 2020-25 Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan establishes a framework for creating and supporting the PV workforce, which is reportedly experiencing a “skills gap” for installation and maintenance. The draft also mentions the government’s ambition to introduce an exemption for plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation storage, made available from April 2023 until March 2035.

Update: An earlier version of this story did not have the 4-6 GW ambition by 2030 confirmed by the Scottish government. The article has been updated to reflect that this claim and commitment has been verified by the government. 

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