Solar Power Portal is today launching a new campaign designed to help stimulate the UK’s commercial rooftop solar sector.

Since the government’s subsidy reset last summer, solar has witnessed a stark decline in deployment with the residential rooftop market hit particularly hard. Domestic solar continues to be installed at a run rate of around 20% compared to last year, resulting in the loss of an estimated 12,500 jobs.

But while the residential sector has struggled – and as utility-scale gears up for its last hurrah under 1.2 ROCs – the commercial rooftop market, once the unloved child of UK PV, appears set to take up the mantle.

Richard Rushin, senior sales manager for northern Europe at Trina Solar and Solar Trade Association board member, says: “With the massive reductions we've had on the feed-in tariff for residential installations, and the curtailing of large-scale subsidies, you've found what used to be the poor relation within deployment is now coming to the fore.

“It was always a sleeping giant, but now I think there's some real attention to commercial rooftops.”

UK businesses are embracing the potential of solar to both decarbonise their operations and save a bit of money in the process. With wholesale energy prices looking likely to fluctuate over the coming years, guaranteeing a percentage of your supply generated for free from a fully-paid install or purchased at a fix rate under a power purchase agreement is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition.

And it’s those power purchase agreements – coupled with other, innovative financial models that have emerged from government-enforced uncertainty – that are making solar PV an attractive proposition in such a low, or no-subsidy environment.

Over the coming weeks Solar Power Portal will be looking at the UK’s commercial rooftop sector in fine detail, analysing in-depth the financial models making it work, what has driven some of the UK’s biggest businesses to turn to solar and, perhaps most importantly, how the country’s solar industry can crack the commercial market.

We will also be extensively covering important policy developments impacting the sector, most notably the potential increase in business rates which could disrupt what is now a vital lifeline for UK solar.

Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said that the trade body’s recent survey conducted with PwC was evidence of how important a thriving commercial rooftop market is.

“Rather than tax bombshells, it is clear that the industry needs and wants to see a positive tax regime to reward responsible companies. We very much hope that the new integrated department will tune a fresh ear to the unparalleled growth, jobs and innovation potential solar offers,” she added.

All of our campaign coverage will be promoted on Twitter using the #CrackingCommercial hashtag and can be accessed on SPP using our new tagging function, found here

If you’ve anything you would look like to contribute to the campaign, be it news, insight, opinion or case studies of commercial installations, then please feel free to send them to [email protected]