Ecobuild: REC Solar has high hopes for the UK solar industry

After a successful launch in the UK solar market last year, REC Solar has furthered its commitment to this country by planning to install approximately 60MW in 2012.

The company, which is exhibiting at Ecobuild this week, hopes to continue expanding in the UK market beyond 2012. Last year the company installed more than 30MW of solar across the country in residential, commercial and large-scale solar projects. This year, REC Solar hopes to double its capacity by installing approximately 60MW, a large proportion of which will be ground mounted under the Renewables Obligation Certification scheme (ROCs).

I caught up with Jan Jacob Boom-Wichers, Managing Director of REC Solar for France, Benelux, UK and Ireland at Ecobuild 2012 to hear more about REC’s plans for this year.

“The recent expansion of our research and development, and sales and marketing teams leaves us well placed to meet the needs of the UK installer community. We look forward to clarity on the regulatory framework as the market certainly has great potential,” he explained.

Jan Jacob is expecting an approximate 1GW market this year, providing Government sticks to its plans for the feed-in tariff and doesn’t make any rash cuts as seen in previous months. A large portion of this 1GW is expected to be made up of multi-megawatt solar parks, which will be installed under the ROCs.

“We’re certainly interested in large-scale solar in the UK. Now that component prices have come down to the point where two ROCs combined with a power purchase agreement makes sense, many developers are expected to install at the larger end this year and next,” Jan Jacob continued.

REC Solar also expects a healthy residential market this year, which it hopes to contribute towards. However, Jan Jacob made it clear that there is still a lot of work to be done before the UK reaches grid parity.

“If the UK Government was to adopt a net metering model we might reach the point where solar reached grid parity in the UK, however without this it probably won’t happen until at least 2015,” he explained.

REC Solar has also made a donation to UK organisation SolarAid to help with the provision of solar study lights for students and their families in southern and eastern Africa.