UK solar capacity doubles in 2014

Decc figures show that UK solar generation almost doubled over the last year, with approximately 5GW of capacity installed by the end of 2014, compared to 2.8GW at the end of 2013.

The UK now has over 650,000 solar installations, providing enough power to supply the equivalent of 1.5million homes.

Solar Trade Association CEO Paul Barwell said: “We are now well underway to a million solar installations, of all shapes and sizes, across the country. This is a world-class achievement and something the Coalition Government can be proud of.”

“Analysis has shown that solar is the most popular form of energy generation, and could provide 50,000 jobs by 2030 if given the right support. Solar clearly works in Britain. Panels in London generate 65% as much energy as in Madrid, and the panels work more efficiently in cooler temperatures.”

The UK growth is reflective of a global trend which saw investment in solar projects rise 25% to $149bn in 2014, while generation costs have halved in the last four years.

2020 goals

Revising figures from a report released in November, Barwell said that UK solar would be cost compeititve with gas by 2020. However, he claimed the industry could only reach that point with a stable policy framework from the next government.

Said Barwell: “Last year was a rollercoaster for the solar industry, with the closure of the Renewables Obligation to large solar farms sending shockwaves of uncertainty across the renewables industry. The outlook from this April is a concern and it seems to make little sense to stymie such a success story.

“I hope the new Government will build on this success and set higher solar targets for 2020 and provide the stable business environment the industry needs to deliver.”

Last week, a senior executive at one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers praised the incumbent Government for the Feed-in Tariff subsidy, calling it “one of the most progressive such schemes in the world.”

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie