MCS Solar Roof Domestic
MCS reveals the regions in England with the highest number of domestic renewable installations. Image: MCS

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has revealed that the South of England led the way in small-scale renewable installations for 2023, with Cornwall heading the herd.

MCS reported that Cornwall saw 4,890 installations of solar and heat pumps combined across the year, the highest in England, producing an estimated annual generation of over 37MWh.

South Cambridgeshire followed in second place for the amount of installations in 2023, but comes in first for the highest percentage of homes with installations at 2.42%. 84% of its installations last year were solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, with 1,377 households opting for solar power, the highest number in the country.

In third place, Winchester enjoyed its best year for installations, with 1,083 in total, representing 2.09% of households in the area. It had 953 solar PV installations, placing it second in the country for all-time uptake, as 1.84% of households now have solar installations.

2023 was also a positive year for South Hams, which now has 2.05% of households with renewable installations, making it currently the fourth-highest local authority for both 2023 and all-time uptake.

The data from MCS revealed that nearly 175,000 small-scale renewables were installed across England in 2023, a 32% increase on 2022 that brings the nation’s all-time installation count to 1,378,870.

This represents over 5.7% of households with a certified renewable installation, placing it behind Wales and Scotland, which have 8.4% and 8.2% of households with installations, respectively.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, said: “It has been an interesting year for the adoption of renewables in England, with Cornwall leading the way and topping the table.

“Based on the total number of installations, these produced an estimated annual generation of over 37MWh, enough energy to make each person in Cornwall nine cups of tea a day for a year.”

Comparisons in growth

For the entirety of the UK, domestic small-scale renewable installations reached record highs in 2023, as documented by MCS.

A key player in this progress was Wales, which saw a record number of solar panels and heat pumps installed in 2023.

More than double the amount of certified renewable installations were recorded in Wales than the previous year, bringing the total number of Welsh homes and businesses with renewable energy to over 100,000.

Almost one in ten households(8.4%) in Wales have MCS-certified renewable installations as of 2023, the highest proportion of any other country in the UK.

Scotland was also able to celebrate, as MCS revealed that the country had increased small-scale solar installations by 174% in 2023 compared to 2020. In total, nearly 26,000 solar panels were installed in Scotland in 2023, which is the most ever recorded by the certification scheme.

It seems there will be even more installations recorded in the coming years, evident from the YouGov poll commissioned by MCS, which revealed that 79% of all MPs support making solar panels mandatory for all new-build homes from 2025 onwards.

The poll, published in February 2024, coincided with the UK government’s consultation period for the Future Homes Standard.

This piece of legislation will set out regulatory standards for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon reduction in the UK and is due to come into force next year (2025).