Minister of state for energy Greg Barker has backed the potential of the solar industry in the UK, stating that the industry on our shores is “the most exciting growth market for solar in Europe”.
Mr Barker was speaking at an event hosted and organised by Solar Media, ‘Doing Solar Business in the UK in Munich’, and put forward three reasons as to why the industry is one of the most attractive markets for overseas investors.
Firstly, the energy minister said that the domestic market for solar energy has the “greatest growth potential in the EU”. This is encouraged by government initiatives such as the feed-in tariff and the Green Deal to help more homes throughout the country access the carbon reducing technology.
He went on to say that the UK has a “reformed, robust and fully-financed support framework for renewables, set all the way to 2020 and beyond”. Although no official targets have been raised, apart from in Scotland, 2020 is seen as a turning point for a reduction in nationwide carbon emissions.
Finally, Mr Barker said the UK is an “emerging global hub” when it comes to advanced manufacturing of solar panels.
While recent measures have been taken to curb the import of cheap Chinese solar imports to UK markets, with the view that it damages the solar businesses in Europe and the rest of the world, Mr Barker suggests that the imposed levies should be lifted.
“Britain – perhaps more than anyone else in the EU – stands for free trade and global competition. We have always done so, and will always continue to do so,” he said.
“That is why we have led the fight against the imposition of damaging and counterproductive anti-dumping EU levies on imports of Chinese solar panels.”
The minister also reiterated the UK’s ambitious proposals for the solar industry in the coming seven years, stating that over 17GW of solar energy capacity is expected to be deployed during this time.