The Solar Taskforce was established earlier this year. Image: Unsplash.
The UK Solar Taskforce has established four issue-specific sub-groups to support the creation of its roadmap for 70GW of solar by 2035.
The four issue-specific groups will tackle electricity networks, skills, rooftop solar and supply chains, all of which are regarded as key obstacles that need addressing to scale the UK’s solar generation capacity.
The Taskforce, which had first been introduced as part of the government’s ‘Energy Security Day’ package following calls for its creation in Chris Skidmore’s Independent Review of Net Zero report, is looking to drive forward the necessary action that will be required to reach the pre-established targets.
One of the key aspects of the group is the creation of a strategic roadmap which will look to assist in the development of, and securing cross government and industry buy-in, to a UK roadmap for solar setting out a clear step by step deployment trajectory to achieve up to 70GW of solar by 2035.
Electricity networks have been included as one of the sub-groups of the Taskforce. The aim of this is to unlock regulatory and other challenges that are currently preventing timely and cost-effective grid connections – a topic Harmony Energy recently discussed with Solar Power Portal.
This sub-group will work to support grid connections at all scales including residential, commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop and utility-scale.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association (ENA) will operate as chair of the group with Gemma Grimes, Solar Energy UK’s director of policy and delivery, as vice-chair. Its membership includes, among others, representatives from Ofgem, UK Power Networks, National Grid ESO, National Grid Electricity Transmission, Regen, the National Farmers Union, UK Warehousing Association and Photon Energy.
Its priorities will be to reduce grid connection waiting times, improve connections management for battery storage systems and expand the network. The group is also targeting to improve the management of smaller-scale rooftop installations.
Skills is another sub-group that has been created as part of the Solar Taskforce and will become an increasingly debated topic in the near future as the UK races towards impending net zero targets.
Gemma Grimes will again operate as vice-chair with Mark Wakeford from EvoEnergy set to lead the group as chair. The group will identify how to develop and deliver the skills and training needed for the future solar workforce in both the short and long-term.
Participants in this group include the likes of British Solar Renewables, the Energy and Utility Skills Partnership, UK Greentech, the Institute for Apprenticeships, Octopus, South Thames College and the Local Government Association.
The aims of this group are to maintain and improve the quality of installations as the sector scales up, improving diversity and ensuring that young people, those changing careers and those returning to the jobs market are aware of employment and training opportunities in solar energy and the skills needed for it.
Rooftop solar, which is expected to be a key contributor in reducing the cost of energy within households, will be the largest of the four groups. It will focus on regulatory and other barriers to deploying commercial, industrial and domestic rooftop solar with its remit to include selling power to the grid, public procurement, lowering upfront costs, raising public awareness of solar energy and securing appropriate planning rules and property regulation regimes.
The group will be co-chaired by Tim Warham, senior policy adviser at the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero and Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK. Membership of this group includes Centrica, Eversheds, Community Energy England, Viridian, the British Business Bank, the Federation of Small Businesses, National Energy Action and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. MCS, the National Residential Landlords Association, the Home Builders Federation and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors are also members, among others.
The final sub-group of the Solar Taskforce focuses on supply chains to facilitate resilient, sustainable and innovative supply chains for deploying rooftop and ground-mount solar.
The group will be chaired by Liz McFarlane, director of Segen, with Chris Hewett as vice-chair, and bring together organisations including the UK Infrastructure Bank, Oxford PV, Make UK, British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association, techUK, the Green Finance Institute, Solarport Systems, Tata Steel, JBM Solar, MyEnergi, GivEnergy and Power Roll.