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Solar Independence for an Electric Britain

Later on this morning, I shall attend the shiniest, brightest, sunniest event of the whole year so far : by the invitation of the Solar Trade Association, I shall attend a day of presentations named “Does the new government mean business for solar ?”. If I were a journalist, I would probably assume that the answer to that question is the default “no”, but I’m hoping some of the attendees will claim otherwise. And here below is a related press release about a publication released today : “Solar Independence Plan for Britain”, outlining exciting opportunities for solar photovoltaic farms in the UK. I shall be smiling all day, I can tell. The UK solar future’s so bright, I’ll need to wear PV shades.

‘Solar Independence’ is opportunity for Britain

Media Release : Embargoed to: 00:01 Monday 8 June 2015

Commenting on the publication of the ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’ by the Solar Trade Association [1], Guy Smith, Vice President of the National Farmers Union, highlighted the opportunity that solar power presents to British farmers.

Guy Smith said: “We’re pleased to see the fast-maturing solar industry calling for a responsible tapering-off in the level of public support it requires. Solar farmers are proud to be contributing renewable electricity into the British grid and the NFU is firmly in favour of using subsidies as efficiently as possible.”

“Our advice to government would be that as many farmers are finding, solar farms can easily be managed to support additional biodiversity such as bees and birds. The government is asking farmers to meet targets on biodiversity, and so we’d urge ministers to support solar farms as part of the solution.”

“Farm economists seem agreed that in the future farm-gate prices will become more volatile. Increased weather volatility is a key factor in this. To help manage this volatility farmers need to spread risk across a number of diverse income streams, and solar power and the other land-based renewables are an excellent way of doing this thus helping secure a robust rural economy.”

Catherine Mitchell, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Exeter [2], said that smart policies could support the development of the solar industry in the UK.

Catherine Mitchell said: “We are seeing a profound global transformation in how we think about and build energy systems, and solar is the technology that is leading it.”

“Where governments enact good policy, healthy industries emerge and costs fall. Citizens become entrepreneurs.”

“As the Solar Independence Plan shows, Britain is potentially just five years away from a tipping point in this transformation, and I’d certainly urge ministers to encourage the inevitable rather than fighting it.”


Notes to editors:

1. The ‘Solar Independence Plan for Britain’ by the Solar Trade Association is published on Monday 8 June.

2. Guy Smith and Catherine Mitchell sit on the Advisory Board of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit:

3. The Solar Trade Association is holding an event on 8th June 2015 titled “Does the new government mean business for solar ?”

For more information:

Richard Black, director, ECIU, Tel: 07912 583 328, email: richard . black @ eciu . net

George Smeeton, head of communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george . smeeton @ eciu . net


The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit is a non-profit organisation supporting informed debate on energy and climate change issues in the UK. Britain faces important choices on energy and on responding to climate change, and we believe it is vital that debates on these issues are underpinned by evidence and set in their proper context.

We support journalists and other communicators with accurate and accessible briefings on key issues, and help connect individuals and organisations in the field with the national conversation.

Our Advisory Board reflects the breadth of society’s interest in energy and climate issues. It includes climate scientists, energy policy experts and economists, as well as a range of other stakeholders including MPs and Peers.

All of our funding comes from philanthropic foundations. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the European Climate Foundation the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the Tellus Mater Foundation.

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