21 May 2013 – During the first quarter of 2013, the UK’s photovoltaic market, with 500 MW of capacity installed, accounted for 10% of the global installations during this period. As a result, the UK market passed the mark of 2.0 GW of cumulative installed solar capacity. The year 2012 saw 779 MW of PV capacity installed. According to Solarbuzz, 11.3% of the UK’s electricity in 2012 was generated from renewable energy sources.
The development of the British market can be roughly divided into four phases. First, there was a period of slow growth before the first Feed-in Tariff (FiT). Then there was the first boom in 2011, caused by the FiT. A third period followed the FiT cuts and was characterised by adjustment and a search for new financing models. In 2012, boosted by the Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) scheme, the ground-mounted segment saw a rise in popularity, though most installations that year were still rooftop systems. The new ground-mounted boom really came into its own in the first quarter of 2013, leading to the spectacular numbers that put the UK back on the map. But now that the 31st of March 2013 has come and gone and support under the ROC scheme has been reduced, the market could well come to another standstill.
It seems that the UK market is still characterised by a boom and bust trend. Many experts and market players are calling for updated FiT policies to stimulate new market growth. The real question should be: How can the UK market really move past the boom and bust stage?