The clean-energy provider found that independent generation saw investment of more than £1.1m every day, a significant growth in generation outside of major power companies.

SmartestEnergy’s 2015 Energy Entrepreneurs Report states the total invested in the independent energy sector rose to almost £2.1bn, with more than 4,460 commercial-scale sites in operation.

The report explores the development of commercial energy projects of 50KW or more, with independent projects not owned by an energy supply company.

Independent renewable energy projects generated an estimated £1.08bn of energy each year, enough to power around 5.7m homes.

Political uncertainty

SmartestEnergy chief executive Robert Groves said: “This report has highlighted the resilience of the independent generation sector against the backdrop of political uncertainty, changes to renewable subsidies and falls in wholesale power prices that occurred last year.”

He added there were challenges ahead, with planned Government changes to renewable energy subsidies threatening growth.

Groves said: “With the early end to support for onshore wind under the Renewables Obligation and the end of the exemption from Climate Change Levy for renewable source electricity, 2015 could prove to be a difficult year for generators and investors.

“Our hope is that, as always, energy entrepreneurs find a way to seize opportunity so they can continue being a significant part of the energy landscape and contributing to meeting the nation’s energy needs and climate change targets.”

Onsite increase

The SmartestEnergy report added that 1,619 projects were developed, a 57% year-on-year increase, with 8.57GW of independent energy generation capacity now operational.

The cost of the average independent energy project came in at around £258,000, with onsite generation projects developed by businesses increasing by 44%.

The average cost of projects had also fallen from £352,000, suggesting the higher proportion of small scale solar projects.

Edie’s own survey of energy managers earlier this year found 44% of businesses surveyed were generating energy from onsite renewable sources, with 85% making use of solar power in their energy mix.

Matt Field

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