Energy markets report: solar

Nicholas Newman Content Live July 2017
Solar panel technician on roof

Recent falls in the cost of installing on-site solar power generation, whether for heating or electricity, have boosted uptake of the technology among businesses, in preference to oil, gas, biomass and wind installations. According to figures published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, total UK solar deployment for photovoltaic (PV) installations generating up to 5 megawatts (MW) reached above 6 gigawatts (GW) in May 2017. This is up from approximately 3GW in May 2014.

However, there are fears that diminishing subsidy support for solar as against other types of renewables may stop this rising trend in its tracks. According to Dr Chris Jardine, technical director at Joju Solar, installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) “rates are about a quarter of the levels of 2015 but are recovering slowly”.

It’s a story that is echoed in the thermal solar market. According to Finbarr McCarthy, technical and customer service manager at Kingspan Environmental, demand is down “by 30% on 2016 because of initial uncertainty regarding the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)”.

But any recent shortfall in installations should be placed in the wider context of growing demand for energy generation from renewable sources. There is little evidence that solar’s long-term growth will be dramatically impacted by medium-term policy decisions. Read more

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