The launch of today’s Solar Taskforce, jointly chaired by Solar Energy UK and Graham Stuart MP, minister of state for energy security and net zero, marks a step change in UK government engagement with the solar industry.
For the first time, leading industry players, from utility-scale and rooftop sectors, ministers and senior government officials will be sitting around a table to plan the path towards a five-fold increase in solar capacity to 70GW by 2035. The group will meet between now and spring 2024, focused on unlocking the barriers that industry has identified, most notably speeding up grid connections and ensuring that there are sufficient skilled professionals available to scale activity.
Solar Energy UK and its members will be joined on the Taskforce by MCS, the Energy Networks Association and the UK Infrastructure Bank, all of which will have a major role to play in delivering the expansion in solar needed over the next decade.
Alongside the Taskforce itself, there will be sub-groups where more industry representatives and stakeholders will get to grips with the details. Finally, Solar Energy UK will be using its own working groups and steering groups to feed in the views of the wider industry.
I have to confess this all feels remarkably grown up when compared to the ill-informed political and media debates of last summer and autumn over whether solar farms are a threat to food security.