ScottishPower is set to become a UK leader in the development of solar power with a pledge to invest around £500million in renewable projects.

The utility giant, which is part of the Iberdrola Group, has signed two deals to acquire 17 photovoltaic projects, where light is converted to electricity using semiconducting material.

The UK-wide projects are said to be at an advanced stage of development, with a combined capacity of 800MW, generating enough clean energy to power around 220,000 homes by 2025.

Twelve are fromElgin Energy, which was founded in 2009 following research into the German solar market, which accounted for an estimated 8.2 percent of the country’s gross-electricity generation in 2019.

A further five are from Lightsource BP,  the largest solar developer in Europe.
ScottishPower say the deals will propel it to the forefront of the UK’s solar industry, with its market share rising from 2% to 9%. 

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The company said it is confirmation of its commitment to grow the renewables market across the UK and helping Scotland achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables said: “Moving into 2022, we are continuing to push forward our plans to support the transition to Net Zero.  

“This boost to our solar generation pipeline complements our existing growth plans for wind and storage.  

“With plans to invest close to £4 billion by 2025, doubling the volume of renewable electricity we produce, we are taking action every day to deliver on our commitment to deploy more renewables – at scale and at speed – to electrify how we live, work and travel

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“This addition to our portfolio will help accelerate that journey and play an important role in tackling the climate emergency.”

As of September 2021, Iberdrola had almost 3GW of installed solar energy systems worldwide, an increase of 89% compared to 2019. 

Of this capacity, the highest proportion are in Spain, followed by Mexico, the US and the UK.

The company’s investment plan for 2020-2025 sets to double its current PV capacity to 6GW by the end of 2022.

Despite the pandemic and rising costs for raw materials around the world, last year was another record year for renewable energy, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

About 290GW of new renewable energy generation capacity, mostly in the form of wind turbines and solar panels, has been installed around the world this year, beating the previous record last year. 

On current trends, renewable energy generating capacity will exceed that of fossil fuels and nuclear energy combined by 2026.

New climate and energy policies in many countries around the world have driven the growth, with many governments setting out higher ambitions on cutting greenhouse gas emissions before and at the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last month.

However, this level of growth is still only about half that required to meet net zero carbon emissions by mid-century.