MCS has revealed that 2023 is the first year in which solar panel installations have averaged above 20,000. Image: Pixabay.

Record solar panel installation rates have set the UK on track for its “best year ever for renewable energy” installations said Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

According to the official standards body MCS-certified solar and heat pump installations in the UK have jumped by 62% from last year.

Over 80% of these installations have been electricity-generating technologies, driven by the continued growth of solar photovoltaics (PV), leading the first half of 2023 to see 82% more installations that the first six months of 2022.

Following a 114% increase in solar installations for Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, MCS confirmed that more than 120,000 certified solar panels in the first six months of this year – the highest number installed by this point of the year ever, according to MCS.

This broke the previous record set in 2012, when households rushed to install solar panels before cuts to the Feed-in-Tarriff scheme.

Moreover, the MCS has revealed that 2023 is the first year in which monthly solar panel installations have averaged above 20,000.

If these installation rates – paired with heat pump installations – are sustained the MCS has quotes analysts forecast that nearly a quarter of a million households could have renewable technologies installed by the close of this year.

This growth means that UK now has a total small-scale renewable installed capacity of 4GW.

2023 has also been a promising year for battery storage – introduced in MCS installation standard at the end of 2021 – which each month breaking the previous month’s installation records.

At present MCS-certified installation figures for batter storage is 1,000 for 2023.

“We are pleased to report that the UK is on track for its strongest year ever for certified small-scale renewable technology installations. The home-grown energy you invest in for your home, or your business plays an ever more crucial role in the decarbonisation of UK buildings,” said MCS CEO, Ian Rippin.

“As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home. We need to continue to push this expansion to meet our shared national ambitions to reach net zero by 2050. More consumers have the confidence to invest in small-scale renewables now than ever, but we have to make that transition even easier.

“That is why MCS is currently considering feedback from contractors, consumers, and industry experts on proposals to redevelop the scheme and remove some of the complexity in the sector. We continue to grow year-on-year and it is important that we keep our eye on the future and take time to reassess how we support the industry as that progress continues.”

Gareth Simkins, senior communications advisor at Solar Energy UK added: “In the spring, it was looking like we would have something like 215,000 MCS certified solar installations this year. But that was clearly an underestimate – I would bet on around 250,000 now. Installing solar on your roof is one of the best home improvements you can make, and more and more people realise the financial and environmental benefits.”