The UK's first solar power plant to be constructed without a subsidy has been officially opened by Claire Perry, the Climate Change Minister, in a step that she described as a key moment for renewable energy. Located near Flitwick, Clayhill solar farm will generate sufficient energy for almost 2,500 homes. It is also equipped with battery storage facilities to ensure that the green electricity can be used around the clock.
As the technology for renewables has improved, the costs associated with their development have plummeted to the point where green energy is now far cheaper than nuclear energy. Fossil fuels are still being vastly subsidised by the government. A government export scheme has given them £4.8 billion in the last seven years - compared to only £39 million for renewable energy projects in the past five years.
The trade association for the solar industry has said that the government is damaging the industry and hampering its long-term growth by raising panel taxes and failing to offer it the same level playing field as fossil fuels.
Claire Perry said that solar power now generate sufficient energy to power 2.7 million homes, and 99pc of all capacity has been installed in the past seven years. She said that the government's Clean Growth Strategy would ensure that the UK continued to be a world leader in the low-carbon economy transition.
Ministers are expecting further subsidy-free solar farms to come online this year.
The firm behind the Clayhill development, Anesco, said that the new plant was evidence that the government had not been able to stunt the solar industry by slashing subsidies, demonstrating that a sustainable future without incentive payments was entirely possible and that the future of the industry was looking positive indeed.