Feed-in tariffs (FiT) have hit the UK and they are predicted to create a big boost for solar energy. A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts a five-fold increase in demand for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels this year as a result.
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1GW of Solar Energy in UK by 2015
The new report is titled On the brink of a bright future? and predicts that the UK solar market can hit 1GW by 2015.
At the end of 2009, only 32MW of solar energy were installed in the UK (0.3% of total renewable energy in the country), but with a new FiT scheme that could increase 30 times, the experts predict.
Changes in the Solar Industry
With a massive increase in demand, the professional quality of the solar industry is expected to improve in the UK as well.
“The significant expansion that may be just around the corner will change today’s ‘cottage industry’ into a much more professionally organised sector. The PV market will become more sophisticated with more complex products and a greater focus on accountability for system performance,” Daniel Guttmann, renewables director at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said.
Mr. Guttman warns that if the industry doesn’t change quickly, however, the UK could miss out on the possibilities created here. “The industry will need to adapt and develop quickly to ensure that as much of the opportunity in terms of job and value creation is captured within the UK. Companies that have been successful so far have benefited from investment in order to fund expansion. Further investment will be required in order to train for and fund the rapid expansion expected.”
Can the UK Catch Up to Germany?
Increasing installed solar energy capacity 5 times this year and 30 times by 2015 is quite significant, but even with this forecast PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the UK won’t hit Germany’s current solar capacity until 2020. Nonetheless, this will at least put them on the same playing field.
Image Credit: telex4 via flickr/CC license