The lack of grid connectivity in the UK can lead to people waiting up to 15 years to install solar panels on their homes, according to MPs.
The Environmental Audit Committee, which examines green policies within government, said that there was a “dark clouds of delays” preventing the country from reaching it’s potential in renewable energy.
A report by MPs on solar energy found that if delays continue, the government’s goal of installing 70GW by 2035 could not be achieved.
The study found that customers in some cases have to wait between 10 and 15 years for a connection to solar installations.
The MPs pointed out that the current grid connection approach was causing delays in three areas: the lack of physical infrastructure, such as cables and converters; the poor availability of information on solar photovoltaic installations, especially for small-scale ones; and the “queueing” system of applications by developers who apply for grid connections before the project has been approved.
The committee found that solar energy was not subsidised because it is so cheap to produce. However, the cost of installation can be prohibitively high.
The MPs suggested that the government consult on ways to make loans affordable for households and give a discount in VAT to battery storage at home.
The committee will launch a second inquiry into the lack connectivity in the UK. It will examine the barriers that prevent low-carbon technologies connecting to the grid. The committee will also look at the possibility of a more flexible and smarter grid, which allows for dynamic demand management as well as peer-to-peer trading and storage.
Philip Dunne, MP, the chair of the committee said that delays could prevent the UK from reaching zero net emissions by 2050.
He said: “Solar energy has the potential to have a brighter future in the UK. However, the dark cloud of delays that the industry faces hinders its ability to reach its full potential. Our committee heard evidence that showed the UK could achieve its 70GW solar ambition. There are still some issues for consumers, such as the lack of access to financing and the VAT on batteries.
“The ability of low-carbon sources, such as solar, to connect to Britain’s grid could seriously undermine net zero Britain. In our solar inquiry, we found that some developers waited up to 15 year for a grid-connection: this is simply not acceptable. We need to address concerns about infrastructure and planning quickly.
We are launching today a new investigation to examine this issue in more detail, given the growing concerns of our committee over grid connections for projects that use low-carbon energy. I encourage anyone who has an opinion on these matters to submit evidence.”