The latest solar installation figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that, in the run up to August 1, installations increased by 115 percent from 3,855 in the beginning of July to 8,305 for the week ending July 29. Last week alone, installations rose by 62 percent over the previous week – from 26MW to 42MW of installed capacity.
Importantly, the provisional figures show that uptake in the domestic band (0-10kW) has exceeded Government’s first trigger point of 100MW. This means that on November 1, the feed-in tariff rate (FiT) for the 0-4kW and 4-10kW tariff bands will be reduced by 3.5 percent.
The weekly statistics published by the department are only provisional, as such, the solar industry will have to wait until DECC publishes the official monthly statistics for each of the tariff bands for a picture of where the FiT rates will stand come November 1.
The astonishing increase in the installation rate before FiT deadline dates has become an all too familiar sight for the solar industry, which has been subject to countless changes to the FiT scheme over the last 18 months. Introducing the new degression FiT model, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, spoke of his desire to set the industry on steadier footing and end the boom and bust cycle.
However, critics will point to the surge of installs in anticipation of August 1 as proof that a tri-monthly degression model only serves to quicken the boom and bust cycle. The solar industry will wait with baited breath to see how installation rates recover from August 1 onwards, as it looks increasingly likely that November will ring in more changes to the FiT rates.
The full installation figures can be viewed here.