The smaller-scale solar PV market in the UK is continuing to recover and grow slowly following the introduction of a new feed-in tariff (FiT) degression model.    

The latest installation figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that >50kW installations have broken 2,000 a week – a rate 61% higher than the average weekly install figure for January.

For the week ending 17 March, 2,020 installs were completed. The full breakdown can be seen below:

17 March 2013









The 2,020 installations represent 7.6MW of new solar capacity, a rise of 927kW from the previous week. However, the 4-10kW and 10-50kW bands continue to show stagnant growth, with install rates hovering around the 40s for both bands over the last month. While the smallest FiT band continues to show stable growth, the larger bands have struggled to gain any significant traction.

DECC has come under criticism from the solar industry for the automatic degression mechanism that automatically cuts support by 3.5% after three quarters regardless of the level of solar capacity installed.

In May, support for the 250kW-5MW sector will reduce from 7.1p/kWh to just 6.85p/kWh. The Solar Trade Association (STA) has pressed the energy minister Greg Barker to intervene and halt the automatic degression. STA head of external affairs Leonie Greene said: “Larger solar roofs are very cost effective and have a major role to play transforming choice for businesses, communities and public sector actors in the electricity sector. If we are serious about Electricity Market Reform and value for money in the UK, then the tremendous potential of big solar roofs needs to be unlocked.”

DECC also moved forward the reference date for the following quarter from 1 August to 1 July – meaning that the automatic 3.5% degression that would have taken place for all >50kW tariff bands will now occur one month faster than industry anticipated during its season of peak demand.   

Despite the unexpected shortening of the next quarter, the solar industry still has three months of FiT price stability for the >50kW sectors, however, it is still unclear what impact the decision will have on the industry.