Weekly PV installs pass 10MW for first time without FiT cut deadline

The weekly number of sub 50kW solar photovoltaic installations has broken through the 10MW barrier for only the fourth time this year and for the first time ever with no imminent feed-in tariff cut.

The week ending 8 December saw 2,772 installations completed across the UK, representing 10.43MW of installed capacity.

The last time that the solar industry installed more than 10MW-a-week of sub 50kW was in the run up to July 2013 when the FiT rate degressed by 3.5% from 15.44p/kWh.  

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Ray Noble, PV specialist at the Solar Trade Association (STA) described the latest solar installations as an early Christmas gift for the UK solar industry. He said: “Weekly installation figures of solar PV have been steadily increasing in recent weeks, ever since the energy suppliers started putting up their prices. Today’s figures show that customers want to take more control of their future electricity supply.

“The steady upturn in solar installs is a clear sign that customers are taking action against the ‘Big Six’ and I expect more to follow in the New Year. Solar PV works in the UK and a 3/4kW system will generate a similar amount to that used by a typical house; with the present feed-in tariff subsidy, everybody should follow suit. With storage of electricity just around the corner it could be bye-bye to the Big Six.”

Speaking at the Solar Britain parliamentary event yesterday, Paul Barwell CEO of the STA told the audience that, despite the recent upturn, the level of domestic solar deployment was still short of the industry’s potential. He said: “Sadly over the last 18 months we’ve now got this steady rate of deployment that is around 8-10MW, which is way too low. It needs to be an awful lot higher than that, somewhere between 15-20MW per week.”

However, the latest figures will be particularly encouraging for the solar industry as the surge has not been driven by an imminent feed-in tariff (FiT) degression. Levels are due to change on the 1 January; however, due to the limited growth of the sub-50kW sector, FiT rates will remain the same until 1 April 2014 where they will be due for an automatic degression.