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Solar production is vital to renewables future

Energy and climate change minister says solar power has greatly increased in popularity over the past three years

Solar energy has drastically increased in popularity in the past three years

The use of solar power in the expansion of renewables usage across the UK will be pivotal, according to Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

Barker said that solar energy has gone through something of a boom period in the last few years, and this has seen photovoltaic (PV) installations increase 25-fold in the last three years.

This comes as the government reveals the solar power Roadmap to a Brighter Future, designed to show how the technology will have an effect on the move towards renewables further down the line.

Solar has ‘an important role to play’

Barker said the present government remains committed to the production of renewable energy for a green and reliable future, while still offering consumers the best possible prices.

It is here, he added, that solar power has a large role to play in making the uptake of renewables a reality. However, he said that it will be important moving forward to make sure any decisions made are responsible and have communities in mind.

“It’s a genuinely exciting energy technology which has already seen rapid growth and enjoys strong public support,” Barker explained.

“I want this growth to continue and to help us push further ahead in the global race – but new solar installations must be sensitive to public opinion and mindful of wider environmental and visual impacts.”

The Roadmap explained

The Roadmap to a Brighter Future released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) explains that there is still much the government can do to help make solar power a more desirable method for the future.

It outlines the fact that in the years between 2010 and 2012, the cost of solar installations decreased by approximately half, which encouraged uptake.

However, more still needs to be done to help the government meet targets. Barker said the target to reach solar installations with a combined capacity of 10GW by the year 2020 was not only achievable, but could also be surpassed.

At the moment, the UK has 2.4GW of solar installations, but the DECC is targeting 20GW within the next decade, a dream which Barker said cannot be achieved without cutting costs further.

In order to make this a reality, the government has set out four key steps. These include giving support for solar PV to allow cost-effective projects to proceed, and seeking assurances that solar can deliver genuine carbon reductions that help meet the UK’s target of 15% renewable energy from final consumption by 2020.

Other important factors the report seeks to bring in include making sure that any installation plans are considerate of environmental and aesthetic issues, and the challenges that can come from installing high volumes such as the strain this could put on the National Grid.

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  • Russell Wade

    The basic principle of any kind of insurance is shared risk. The problem with the increasing sophistication of risk assessment is that ultimately, if they can assess your risk accurately, you could pay as much in premiums as it would cost you to just pay any claims out of your own pocket, in which case insurance becomes pointless. It seems fairly unlikely that car insurance risk assessment could ever get that clever, but with health and life insurance in particular, with ever increasing sophistication of DNA testing etc, it’s a real issue. To that extent I fully support the EU rules on non-discrimination.

  • Tina Birnie

    Insurance is based on risk women are safer drivers why should they pay higher premiums
    If you are going to be fair on EU rules then a 60 year old should pay the same as an 18 year old for life insurance but this does not happen
    Therefore the rules are only being changed when it suits to get higher premiums

  • Jon Hucknell

    Having spent a lifetime in the Insurance business, I would advise that Insurance premium scales have been evolved over very many years, taking into account any and all factors that affect the risk. The higher the risk, the higher the premium. If gender is a relevant factor, then it should also be taken into account when judging premiums. – Should pregnancy premiums be equal for men and women? – Are younger drivers worse than older drivers and at what age do the roles reverse? – Have men proven to be better or worse drivers than women? If the gender has proven to be crucial, the premiums for insurances (usually tailored to the clients’ needs) it should be taken into account along with all other relevant factors. It should not be for EU or any other Law Makers to ‘lean’ on Insurers to decide how to run their business, as the possible result is to round the premiums up rather than lower them. Since Insurers carry the financial risk for the policies, they should be the arbiters of the premiums. In any case, the client has the final say whether they accept the quotation or not. If the clients are still dissatisfied with their policies, or the handling of their claims, they may refer the matter to the Financial Conduct Authority &/or the Prudential Regulation Authority.
    Caveat Emptor…..

  • Jemima Puddleduck

    Women should not have to subsidize men for driving more dangerously. This is not like health insurance where people cannot help their genes or health status. Driving more dangerously is a choice young men make for themselves and, as such, they should foot the bill for the extra costs they cause – and not offload it onto a group with a better safety record.

    Let the disparity inspire the high risk group to drive more safely. When the situation is next reviewed, they may have earned the right to a lower premium, equality would then have been fairly earned and the roads safer for everyone.

    We should never be fatalistic about road safety.

    • Jake

      Women drive just as dangerously as men. You all sit in the mirror applying half the avon book to your faces and sending selfies. At least men concentrate on driving and look where they are going. I think sadly you are very wrong in your opinion. Women being hesitant and not brave enough cause accidents. I have drove into the back of a young lady who slammed her brakes on just in case there was a car coming (there wasn’t)- she drove off and left me with now huge insurance premiums every year. Women are no better than men.

      • susan

        What a prat you are. If you went into the back of her, you are at fault regardless of the reason she stopped. My son has just done the same thing as you but at no point did he blame the lady he banged into. He took the blame and will suffer the consequences of his mistake

        • Fraser Purdey

          If he went into the back of her then in insurance terms it is nearly always his fault but in reality it wont really be his fault, if your brakes aren’t as good and allowing for reaction time and also not knowing how hard the person is braking,then its is quite hard to not go into the back of someone (especially if they use maximum brake) even with a good separation distance. But I agree that there should be no regulations because its up to the insurers and they should be allow to charge what they want if they think something may cost more.

  • Graeme R

    I am a man and I have been driving for 60 years. In my experience, men and women are definitely not equal when it comes to driving standards. On the whole, women are more cautious, less aggressive and more inclined to observe the rules of the road. They are also generally more willing to give way in “tight” situations. This makes women, as a group, consistently safer drivers and I this should rightly be taken into consideration when assessing the risk for insurance purposes. To do otherwise is to pander to political correctness.

  • 1 ER

    fine by me to all pay the same, but why should ladies’ premium increase to match the gentlemen’s instead of gents’ going down to match the women’s lower rates? Why is always equality increasing prices and not decreasing them? It is all a money making folks, the guys up there are smiling down upon us (laughing with their backsides in fact)

  • Tim Hughes

    The problem is that discrimination by gender misses the point by generalising.
    Men and women have, on average, the same amount of incidents. The difference is the size of the pay out – men generally have crashes at speed which causes more damage/injury costing the insurance companies more. Any one who claims women are better drivers has never spent any time around the afternoon school run.
    On an average day, look around and see how many men are out on the roads compared to men, the difference is huge. If you measured risk by the number of miles driven by the sexes, men would come out as safest because they drive more.
    In short, there are so many variable, I would argue it’s unfair to put so much emphasis on just one.
    Oh, and in terms of driving ability, as a driving instructor, it’s definitely equal.

  • Les Ralph

    all this talk of female equality these days, women and men want the same rights.. so should pay the same costs… if a particular man or woman is negligent (ie: poor driver) then they should pay more insurance, not load every man or woman with the same label just because they are in a gender group, and I’m a guy who has had to pay more insurance than my female counterparts for most of my driving life (from 1977 until the EU ruling) and have had 2 accidents in that entire time, and neither of those was even my fault, one was a drunk guy and the other was a female reversing into the front of my car while I was stationary.. lol.. treat everyone as an individual, no two people are the same no matter what category they are labelled with

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