AT THE start of this week, the particularly clear, bright conditions helped solar systems to break the all-time generation record for the technology in the UK.

On May 13, around about noon, solar hit a generation peak of 9.47GW, surpassing the previous record of 9.38GW set back in May 2017 – but as The Scottish Farmer went to press, the Solar Trade Association predicted that the record may be beaten again this week.

STA spokesperson Léonie Greene said: “It is impossible to argue with the numbers. The bright clear skies combined with mild temperatures means solar has consistently met big portions of electricity demand throughout recent days.

"Days like these show that the technology can deliver clean, affordable power in abundance. We now need Government to provide a level playing field with other technologies and then solar can thrive without public support. Currently solar in the UK faces a plethora of barriers which have dramatically slowed deployment," said Ms Greene.

"The sobering reports out recently from the International Energy Agency and the International Monetary Fund show fossil fuels subsidies are rising globally as renewables investment stagnates. Every country now needs to buck that trend and particularly the UK given we still lag behind the EU average for renewable energy.”

According to the STA, solar in the UK is facing a number of challenging policy and regulatory issues, including proposed changes to the way reduced-rate VAT is applied to solar as an energy saving technology, a lack of clear and fair remuneration for small-scale power exports to the grid, unfair exclusion from secure government Contracts for Difference, unfair business rates for organisations that install solar on their buildings and a glut of unhelpful charging regulation reforms proposed by Ofgem.

All this is despite the IPCC identifying solar as the technology with the single biggest technical potential to tackle climate change, and be the world’s largest clean energy market. Recent analysis from the IMF has found that global investment in renewables has plateaued, and global deployment of renewables stalled in 2018 following two decades of strong growth according to a recent report from the IEA.

In the UK, solar now provides around 4% of UK electricity. At its peak in 2015, the UK industry delivered over 4GW of solar and employed 34,000 people.

"Solar power democratises energy; it is owned by over 975,000 homes, businesses and communities," added Ms Greene. "Over 80% of community energy schemes feature solar power. It is the UK’s most popular source of energy, consistently topping the list in the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker, scoring well over 80% on average and reaching a record 89% rating in the latest iteration.

"The STA’s recent LCOE analysis shows that with stable support solar could hit less than £40/MWh before 2030 providing greater prosperity for households and competitiveness for UK businesses."