New statistics from solar market analysts Wiki-Solar put the UK behind the USA and China in its installed large-scale solar capacity, having moved to third place ahead of Germany in the first quarter of 2015.

The figures show that global installations in the first half of 2015 totalled more than 8GW of utility-scale solar, which is defined as solar plants with a capacity of more than 4MW.

The new capacity looks on track to make 2015 a record year for large-scale solar, with around 14GW installed in all of 2014.

The USA topped Wiki-Solar’s list with almost 10.5GW of utility scale capacity. The total global utility-scale generation capacity reached 45GW at the half-year point, with China now exceeding 10GW capacity.

Behind the UK in installed large solar capacity came Germany (3.6GW), India (2.9GW) and Spain (1.5GW).

Global growth

Wiki-Solar said that countries outside the top six countries are continuing to add to the global capacity.

Wiki-Solar founder Philip Wolfe said: “Japan, France and Canada are all continuing to build capacity, and it looks to be only a matter of time before they too overtake Spain.”

Asia led the way in worldwide total capacity of utility-scale solar at the end of 2014, with more than 16GW installed, followed by Europe on 13GW and followed closely by the USA on around 12.8GW.

Australia and Oceania were the lowest on the list, with only around 0.2GW of large solar capacity.

The UK’s overall solar portfolio has been improving, with companies now able to install up to 1MW of rooftop solar without planning permission following changes to planning laws.

The industry body the Solar Trade Association estimated solar power provided more than 15% of the UK’s electricity during a particularly sunny day on Friday 3 July, a day which also marked Solar Independence Day.

However, the UK has also announced cuts to the feed-in-tariff subsidy for ground mounted solar farms, and last week the Chancellor George Osborne revealed changes to renewable energy’s exemption from the Climate Change Levy in the Government’s Budget.

Matt Field

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