Solar ‘ready to deliver’ as Labour proposes 2030 net zero target

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Solar is “ready to deliver” in the transition to a net zero future but the Labour Party is facing a “considerable challenge” in its proposed target of net zero by 2030.

This week the Labour Party approved a motion to adopt a Green New Deal, under which the party has pledged to commit to pursuing a net zero economy by 2030 in the event of a Labour majority in any prospective general election.

That target, some 20 years earlier than the current target, made legally binding four months ago, would make it the most ambitious and give the UK just eleven years to achieve the transition.

Chris Hewett, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, said that whilst an earlier target is welcome, 2030 would be a “considerable challenge” due to the practicalities of decarbonising “more difficult sectors” such as transport and heat.

Hewett also stressed the importance of utilising solar and battery storage in the transition, which will play a “vital role” over the next decade, in particular as costs are set to continue to fall in the period.

“Solar can be deployed very quickly and has already demonstrated it can do this at scale. The industry stands ready to deliver,” he said.

The Labour Party has shown an interest in supporting solar in recent months, having revealed in May plans to install solar on 1.75 million homes. This ambition was positively received from the industry, described as “the leadership we need on renewables”.

And at last year’s annual conference, the party announced it would look to treble the UK’s solar capacity by 2030 as part of a Labour government.

Hewett lauded this commitment as one which would make “a significant contribution towards the decarbonisation of our grid”.

However, a whole range of clean power sources will be needed to meet net zero within “any timeframe”, RenewableUK’s Luke Clark said.

“We need to rapidly ramp up all of our clean power sources, including onshore wind and innovative renewable technologies, to unlock decarbonisation right across our economy.

“Increased investment in renewable energy will create thousands of jobs across the UK and bring huge benefits to local economies,” Clark continued, adding that offshore wind will be “key” due to its record results in the latest Contracts for Difference auction.