The Department of Energy and Climate Change has dramatically upgraded its solar deployment forecast for 2020 to 12GW.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd made the announcement during a landmark speech this morning, outlining her department’s future energy strategy.

During the speech, Rudd said: “Over 8GW of solar is already deployed and even with the costs controls we have proposed we expect to have around 12GW in place by 2020. [Solar] will be cost-competitive through the 2020s.”

However the new 12GW forecast is an astonishing increase of more than 25% on estimates noted by energy minister Andrea Leadsom earlier this month when questioned by Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham.

Leadsom pointed towards estimates compiled by DECC in August this year that solar capacity in the UK would reach 9.55GW by 2020, equivalent to approximately 9.1TWh of generation.

Finlay Colville, head of market intelligence at Solar Intelligence, said that the “reality” was that the UK would meet the 12GW figure “in the next few months, not the next few years”.

“The rhetoric from DECC on solar forecasting, even given the rubber-stamping on their current proposals for FiTs and ROCs, is rapidly descending into the realms of farce, and one wonders just how removed from the sector those people are that are currently forecasting 12GW by 2020.

“At times, it looks like the UK solar industry may be better served by cutting off attachment with the government. If solar is simply going to be used as a political toy, and another reason why coalition politics does not work, then it is hard to see how this offers any value once incentives have all but gone,” he said.

Colville added that overachieving on solar deployment, as the UK has done to date, would be reason for most countries to “shout from the rooftops” but that the opposite has proven true in the UK.

“The worrying issue however would be if the national grid or other key stakeholders in controlling UK energy distribution took the 12GW in 2020 as being real and made crucial decisions based on this number,” Colville added.