Relief from solar market as signs of stability emerge

Evidence of some stability returning to the solar PV sector, after installation levels were hit by the year's feed-in tariff (FiT) cuts, has been welcomed by industry players.

REC Solar’s UK managing director, Jan Jacob Boom-Wichers, said the market was “slowly stabilising” after a sharp drop in installations in March 2012, when the new support scheme took effect.

The comment was based on the latest statistics from DECC which show installation capacity in May was 6% up on April.

That lifted the country’s total Solar PV installed capacity to 1.1GW, prompting Boom-Wichers to add: “Clearly, to meet the 22 GW solar target in the UK by 2020, current levels of PV deployment will have to increase.

“We believe market growth could be stimulated through net metering in addition to longer-term visibility for solar customers and suppliers. We will continue to work with distribution partners and installers to make solar more sustainable in the UK.”

Scottish renewable energy company owner, Andrew Lyle at Locogen agreed that confidence was coming back to the sector.

“People are certainly still interested in solar,” he told edie, while accepting some felt they may have missed the boat.

“That shows a lack of understanding of the sector, especially as panel prices have come down by 35%-40% since December, depending on individual suppliers.”

Lyle added that there had been a few Solar FiT “winners” in the early months of this year, however, as a result of the delay to the reductions originally set for December 2011.

In Scotland, for example, there was a sharp rise in installations between December 13, 2011, and March 3, 2012, a period which produced 5,365 installations.

The further one month delay to the most recent planned solar FiT cut, moving the starting point from July to August, is also expected to benefit the PV market.

Despite the improved position on Solar, however, Lyle said that sales enquiries to his company were led by 50% wanting information on hydro, against 30% for wind and just 20% for solar.

edie staff

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