The number of solar installations in the UK registered for the government’s feed-in tariff has topped half a million for the first time, according to official statistics.

The latest data released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change shows that the total number of registered installs reached  501,145 for the week ending 12 January.

Together, the mainly residential systems represent an installed capacity of 1.808GW.

Prior to the Christmas holidays when the publication of statistics was suspended, Leonie Greene, head of external affairs at the Solar Trade Association called the approaching achievement “an extraordinary milestone”.

“Half a million homes have been achieved in three years. We want to achieve the next half a million homes in less than two years so that we can hit the big million in 2015,” she added.

“We'd like to see the whole industry pull together in 2014 to help us get the clear benefits of investment out to the public.”

The UK’s large-scale sector has also enjoyed rapid growth with statistics from NPD Solarbuzz show that segment of the industry grew by 600% in 2013. It was one of only five countries that featured in the top ten for installed capacity of both large-and small-scale solar.

In total 1.45GW of new solar energy capacity was added across the UK in 2013.