Despite December being considered a ‘quiet time’ for the solar industry, many in the UK solar sector have been busier than ever. With RO closures, CfD auctions and a new government, 2015 promises to be just as eventful as 2014.

This year saw the UK solar sector continue its astonishing growth, closing out 2014 with praise from the Prime Minister ringing in its ear. Below are the top 10 most read Solar Power Portal stories this year.  

10. Ofgem confirms 2014 feed-in tariff freeze

Our first entry into the top 10 stories of 2014 takes us back to July, where Ofgem confirmed that, due to disappointing deployment, all feed-in tariff levels for solar PV would remain the same from 1 October 2014 to 31 December 2014.  

9. Greg Barker resigns and Owen Paterson sacked in cabinet reshuffle

A surprise cabinet reshuffle in July cost Owen Paterson and Michael Fallon their jobs but the solar industry was most interested in the surprise resignation of the minister for energy and climate change, Greg Barker. The divisive figure fronted the brutal feed-in tariff cuts but was a keen champion of UK solar, setting a 20GW by 2020 ambition.

8. First UK grid connected PV system 95% efficient 20 years later

In September, the UK’s first grid connected solar system was tested on its 20th anniversary, to find it still has a 95% generation rate from its initial installation 20 years ago. The 2.16kW array is south facing on an oak frame with 36, Solarex 60Wp, polycrystalline modules, and an SMA PV WR-1800 inverter.

7. The case for micro inverters on residential PV systems

ReneSola’s Florian Dieckmann explained why he believed microinverters were suitable for UK residential installations. Dieckmann argues that microinverters ease of install, increased yield and longer lifespan make them better candidates for residential systems.

6. UK solar PV industry reaches 5GW installed capacity

Back in August the UK solar industry managed to power through the 5GW cumulative install milestone. The incredible surge in installs was driven by continued cost reduction of UK PV opening up opportunities for solar farms under the renewable obligation. In this guest blog, Finlay Colville of NPD Solarbuzz explored what the milestone meant for the UK PV industry.

5. RO support for solar over 5MW to be scrapped in 2015

No sooner had the industry enjoyed and settled a prolonged period of certainty, than the government pulled the rug from underneath it. In May, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced its intention to remove all support for solar farms over 5MW from April 2015.

4. UK solar industry installs massive 1.1GW in first quarter of 2014

The solar industry flew out of the blocks in 2014, installing 1085MW during the three-month period from 1 January to 31 March 2014. Finlay Colville explores how the industry achieved such a record-breaking quarter.

3. UK launches Europe’s first dedicated solar strategy

In April, the government launched the long-awaited Solar Strategy. The document contained some ominous warnings about the rising deployment of solar farms and called for increased deployment of commercial rooftop installs instead. The launch of a dedicated solar strategy helped solidify PV as a major player in the UK energy mix.

2. UK solar PV demand reached 1.45GW in 2013: large-scale grows by 600%

In January, Solar Power Portal looked back at the performance of solar during 2013. Large-scale solar PV installations in the UK grew by an incredible 600% in 2013, driving the UK to a record 1.45GW of new solar PV capacity added. Ground-mounted installations accounted for over 90% of new large-scale solar PV added in the UK in 2013.

1. How will solar in the UK fare in 2014?

Back in January, I asked some leading lights from the industry to give their predictions for the year ahead. Check out the article to see how accurate their predictions were.

Well that’s it for 2014, another interesting year on the ‘solarcoaster’ *shudders*.

Thank you for all your support throughout the year. Enjoy the break and we will see everyone in the New Year.