Battery storage installations also saw a welcome increase in 2023. Image: MCS.
Battery storage installations also saw a welcome increase in 2023. Image: MCS.

Data released by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) yesterday (13 December) has confirmed that 2023 was the UK’s “best ever” year for renewable energy and heating installations.

With a total of 220,500 MCS certified installations having been registered across 2023 so far, the UK beat its 2022 figures by the end of September.

Solar PV has been confirmed as the leading technology for these installations coming in with a whopping 183,022. This exceeded 2022’s figures by 45,022 where the year saw 138,000 certified installations across the UK.

Speaking on the continued success for domestic solar, Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said: “It’s no wonder that people are queuing up to go solar. Installing a solar energy system is one of the best investments available to homeowners and businesses alike.

“Electricity bills remain stubbornly high, and all expectations are that they will remain so for the foreseeable future. In contrast, solar provides cheap, decarbonised power and normally pays for itself in a few years.”

Heat pumps and battery storage see rising installations

Coming in at second is heat pumps which also saw a year-on-year (YoY) increase. In 2023 so far, the UK has seen more than 35,000 installations registered for both air source and ground/water source technologies – a record year for heat pump installations. In total, this means that over 200,000 certified heat pumps have now been installed since 2008 with this expected to continue its trajectory into the coming years.

It is no coincidence that an increase in the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant, which increased from £5,000 to £7,500 in October, resulted in average weekly voucher applications soaring from 331 to 1,172. MCS highlighted that this shows the importance in implementing the correct governmental policy to support low-carbon technologies.

In third place for certified installations is battery storage. At the end of 2022, there were 50 contractors certified to install the technology, and there are now over 850. MCS confirmed that installations have seen a similar growth with 4,400 of the 4,700 certified batteries being installed in 2023, and almost 800 of those in November alone.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, said: “It’s a pleasure to report on another record-breaking year for small-scale renewables, illustrating the sector’s sustained upward growth. We had an incredibly busy 2023 and the data confirms the progress we’ve made. The future of small-scale renewable installations is becoming increasingly important, and we continue to play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of the UK’s homes.

“The growth we’ve seen in domestic renewable electricity systems over the past year may also give some insight into the growing consumer reliance on home-grown energy in the UK during the cost-of-living and energy crises. As electricity prices skyrocket, more people are turning to renewable solutions to generate their own power at home, secure energy independence, decrease their electricity bills, and reduce their carbon footprint.”