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The Future of Solar Power in the United Kingdom

1,† and 2,*,†
Alexa Capital, 17 Old Court Place, London W8 4PL, UK
GWG Energy, 78 Belle Vue Road, Salisbury SP1 3YD, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Dovì
Energies 2015, 8(8), 7818-7832;
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 21 July 2015 / Accepted: 23 July 2015 / Published: 30 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Policy and Climate Change)
PDF [1659 KB, uploaded 30 July 2015]


We used detailed industry data to analyse the impacts of expected further cost reductions on the competitiveness of solar power in Britain, and assess whether the solar market can survive without support in the near future. We investigated three solar power markets: large-scale, ground-mounted “solar farms” (defined in our analysis as larger than a 5000 kilowatt system); commercial roof-top (250 kW); and residential rooftop (3 kW). We found that all three would be economic without support in the next decade. Such an outcome assumes progressively falling support under a stable policy regime. We found that unsubsidised residential solar power may be cheaper with battery storage within the next five to 10 years. Unsupported domestic solar battery packs achieve payback periods of less than 10 years by 2025. That could create an inflexion point driving adoption of domestic solar systems. The variability of solar power will involve some grid integration costs at higher penetration levels, such as more frequent power market scheduling; more interconnector capacity; storage; and backup power. These costs and responses could be weighed against non-market benefits including the potential for grid balancing; lower carbon and particulate emissions; and energy security. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar power; battery; cost; unsubsidized; policy; United Kingdom solar power; battery; cost; unsubsidized; policy; United Kingdom

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Reid, G.; Wynn, G. The Future of Solar Power in the United Kingdom. Energies 2015, 8, 7818-7832.

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