New Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) statistics published this morning have claimed that just 11MW of new solar capacity was added last month.

On Thursday morning DECC published its monthly statistics for energy trends and generation which, among other topics, includes the amount of new solar PV capacity it has witnessed over the course of February.

The department’s central claim is that just 11MW of new solar capacity was installed in February, a significant reduction to the 144MW it states was added in the same month last year.

But that figure is extremely doubtful considering the claimed rate of domestic installations under the new feed-in tariff regime, the likelihood of installs with pre-accreditation completing over the month and ground-mounted solar farms coming on stream prior to today’s 1.3 ROC deadline.

DECC has however explained a slight discrepancy between its and industry regulator Ofgem's feed-in tariff installation data.

The department’s figures still break FiT-accredited installs down into >4kW and 4-10kW bands, but combined the department claims that a total of 8MW of residential solar was installed last month. However Ofgem’s monthly feed-in tariff report, released in line with the regulator’s duty of administering the new regime’s capping and queuing system, claimed that 9.6MW of sub-10kW solar was installed in February when its data was released on 7 March.

A spokeswoman for DECC explained that Ofgem's figures for February included installs connected during the government's pause of the feed-in tariff scheme, which ran until 8 February, whereas DECC included these installations in its January figures. The spokeswoman said this discrepancy would only occur during this month's reporting figures owing to the overlap of the two regimes.

But today’s statistics paint a bleak picture for the residential market. With DECC reporting 3,125 >4kW installs, the market fitted 69% fewer PV systems than it did in the same month last year (9,980). Installed capacity under the bracket slipped even further, down 75% year-on-year from February 2015’s figure of 29.1MW.

Meanwhile DECC has also revised upwards its estimates for total solar deployment in the UK in 2015. The department originally suggested that 3.1GW had been installed last year but now puts total new capacity at 3.6GW, nearing the 3.9GW estimate put forward by Solar Intelligence earlier this year.

DECC’s data has long been the subject of much ire and suspicion. The lag in its reporting has been well noted and significant jumps in estimated and forecasted capacity have become common. Between August 2015 and February this year DECC’s 2020 solar forecast was upgraded a number of times from 9.55GW to the current estimate of 13GW.

And last year DECC originally estimated Q1 2015 deployment to be 614MW, someway off the 2.56GW it now considers to be accurate.