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Solar Energy

Working in solar energy means joining one of fastest growing areas of the renewable energy industry at an exciting time, when so much is happening. The sector is made up of organisations ranging from small enterprises to large corporates, which design, install, operate and maintain solar energy systems.

Row of houses with solar panels on the side of their roofs

Introducing solar energy

In the UK alone, more than a million homes and businesses are already enjoying the benefits of solar energy, such as cheaper energy bills, while playing a crucial role in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. We know solar energy is, and will continue to be, a big part of the world’s low-carbon future, which is why the industry has witnessed rapid growth.
Solar installations are affordable, and domestic-scale systems can be fitted in just a day or two. Almost all are photovoltaic (PV) – transforming light into electricity – although solar thermal systems can also be deployed to produce hot water even on cloudy days.

The electricity from rooftop PV can be used where it’s generated, stored in batteries for when it’s needed, or sold (exported) to the National Grid. The owner of the solar system will get paid for that energy. Solar systems are simple to install, unlike big power stations, which can take years to design and build. Solar panels have no moving parts and should last 35 years or longer.

While rooftop systems play a major role in decarbonising buildings, they only constitute about a third of the UK’s solar capacity. The majority is taken up by ground-mounted solar farms.

The importance of going green

Solar energy holds immense importance due to its role in addressing critical global challenges. Solar offers a renewable and sustainable energy source that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate change and its associated impacts. It empowers individuals, businesses, and communities with energy independence, leading to economic benefits through long-term cost savings, and job creation in the renewable energy sector.

UK generation capacity was estimated at 17.6GW at the end of 2023 (Solar Power Portal) and the UK government has a target to reach 70GW of solar generation capacity by 2035 (British Energy Security Strategy).


of the UK’s solar PV capacity has been deployed since May 2010

Solar workers doubled from 2012 to 2020:

there are almost 5 million globally

60,000 UK solar jobs

are predicted by 2035

Information kindly supplied by:
Solar Energy UK logo
Solar Energy UK

Solar Energy UK represents over 370 member companies operating in the UK energy sector and beyond. In partnership with key players across the value-chain, Solar Energy UK is working to increase the UK solar capacity five-fold to 70GW by 2035.

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IEMA is the membership body for environment and sustainability professionals