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UK needs 80GW of solar and up to 30GW of energy storage to meet net zero targets

Clayhill, a solar farm with colocated battery storage, developed and built without subsidies in the UK. Image: Anesco.

The UK will need to deploy 80GW of solar to meet net zero according to a new whitepaper from consultancy Atkins. 

The white paper looked into the capacity of each generation type needed to meet net zero, as well as the rate of deployment.

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It found that 80GW of solar would be needed at a run rate of 2.67GW/yr, however the run rate in 2019 came in at just 0.26GW/yr for solar PV, only 10% of the target outlined by Atkins. 

The whitepaper pointed to the 257MW of total new solar capacity in 2019, of which 81.9MW was in large installations. It went on to praise the technology for being simple in engineering terms, having low development costs and responding quickly to changes in the subsidy regime, stating it is possible to accelerate deployment.

It also outlined how 15-30GW of battery storage would also be required for net zero, helping to mitigate the intermittency of solar PV as well as wind. According to the whitepaper, more solar is required than wind, with Atkins stating that 75GW of offshore wind at 2.5GW/yr is needed and 20GW onshore wind at 0.67GW/yr.

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