The Department of Energy and Climate Change has claimed that 370MW of solar was deployed in the UK in Q1 2016.

Official statistics released today estimate that around 190MW was added throughout March, coinciding with the 1.3 ROC grace period closure which saw a large number of EPCs and solar developers complete projects up and down the UK.

Despite cuts to the feed-in tariff stymieing deployment at a residential level, the ROC grace period had left open a sizeable window for solar projects and, as a result, the industry will have expected more deployment than today’s estimate.

DECC has had much noted troubles keeping up to date with solar PV deployment in the UK, perhaps best typified by last year’s record-breaking Q1.

This time last year the department estimated that just 614MW was deployed in the first three months of 2015, a figure which immediately caught the ire of much of the industry considering the scale of the 1.4 ROC rush.

Just a month later DECC upgraded its estimation to 1,285MW, and two months later Solar Power Portal reported that deployment was actually around the 2.53GW mark – roughly two-times DECC’s upgraded estimate.

According to this morning’s figures DECC now estimates deployment in Q1 2015 to have stood at 2,549MW, validating Solar Intelligence’s estimates from last June.

DECC has also upgraded its forecast for February, having last month claimed that just 11MW was installed throughout the month. Today’s statistics have upgraded that estimate nearly four-fold to 40MW.

Finlay Colville, head of market intelligence at Solar Intelligence, said that DECC had been allocating more resources into fine-tuning its data sets and indicated that while the department’s initial estimate of 370MW does stand to be some way short of actual deployment, it will not be as markedly different as last year’s.

“The figure of 370MW from DECC for Q1'16 would appear to be about 50% of the 750MW that module suppliers SolarWorld and REC Solar, and various non-UK market research groups, have claimed was the true size of the UK end-market in Q1'16.

“A useful reference point for PV deployment in the past has been Lightsource. Recently, Lightsource announced they had connected about 100MW in Q1'16, similar to their additions in Q4'15. If we assume a similar market share for Lightsource in Q1'16 as Q4'15, this would imply that the UK market size in Q1'16 was similar to Q4'15, or about 800MW,” Colville added.

Solar Media’s in-house research team will soon be sharing its figure for solar deployment in the UK in Q1 2016.