Exclusive: UK installed 2.53GW of solar in Q1 2015

  • Solar Farm Lightsource

    94% of the sites connected in Q1 2015 were ground-mounted solar farms operating under the renewable obligation scheme. Image credit: Lightsource Renewable Energy

The UK solar industry connected 2.53GW of new solar capacity to the grid in the first quarter of 2015, according to the latest figures obtained by Solar Intelligence.

The astonishing amount of new capacity completed in the first three months of the year almost eclipses what the industry managed to install in total in 2014 – itself a record-breaking year for UK PV deployment.

The data has been obtained from combining the latest Ofgem data fields, new site accreditation registers and council planning databases with the extensive bank of in-house surveys and interviews carried out by Solar Media since the start of 2015.

The 2.53GW of new capacity means that the UK now has 8.16GW of solar capacity as of 31 March 2015.

UK Q1 2015 figure.jpg

Figure: New analysis undertaken by the Solar Intelligence team confirms that the UK added 2.5GW in Q1 2015, taking cumulative solar PV deployed in the UK to 8.1GW at the end of March 2015. 94% of new solar PV capacity added in Q1 2015 was from renewable obligation-funded, ground-mount solar farms.

During the past few months the Solar Trade Association and UK Solar have been highlighting that the 8GW mark was indeed passed at the end of Q1 2015, in contrast to data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that was putting solar PV deployment at just 6.5GW at the end of March.

Our Solar Intelligence team is currently undertaking new research to understand exactly what the time lag is for renewable obligation based projects getting counted on DECC’s monthly deployment figures, and an article will appear on this in the next few days once we have consulted with all relevant stakeholders in the UK. However, another good marker for the 2.53GW figure is that this appears to be within 10% of unofficial estimates that DECC has been using for their own internal modelling purposes.

According to Finlay Colville, head of Market Intelligence at Solar Media’s new Solar Intelligence group: “Given the strong correlation with the trade organisations’ figures, it would now appear that Solar Media’s coverage of the UK solar industry is providing the most accurate and up-to-date deployment data on the UK solar industry.

“The developers and EPCs that enabled 2.5GW of solar PV within just three months should be given massive credit in helping the UK move towards its target to increase renewable energy contributions. The fact that 2.5GW was deployed with almost no media backlash also shows that the industry is conducting its affairs in a very professional manner.”

More details on the breakdown of the 2.53GW will be provided in the coming days on Solar Power Portal, as we analyse the new data further.

Solar Media's new division Solar Intelligence launches its first ever report on 1 July, 2015. The Large-scale Ground Mount UK database allows you to access raw data on the top-500 companies active in the UK Large Scale Ground Mount Sector. To pre-order or find out more about the report go here.

Note: if you pre-order before 1 July you can save £300 on the report paying only £995, reduced from the standard price of £1,295 from 1 July

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