In an exclusive article posted on Solar Power Portal, NPD Solarbuzz Vice President Finlay Colville reported the company’s latest figures, showing that the UK has now reached 2 GW of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions during 2014.
“The mid-year lull is now officially over,” writes Colville. “Lorries and crates are arriving at fields, and capacity additions are coming online at a frantic rate.”
In fact, the UK has never exceeded the 2 GW level in a year before, but thanks to three of the largest PV farms in the UK recently reaching completion, 2014 may even reach upwards of 2.4 GW.
As shown in the graph above, the majority of the new 2 GW capacity has come from large-scale solar PV farms exceeding 5 MW in size.
Figures from earlier this year showed that the UK connected between 1 and 1.2 GW to the grid in 2013, making 2014’s push quite extraordinary. And as Finlay Colville points out, “the UK was not on anyone’s radar a few years back,” making its recent growth even more impressive.
Colville predicts that the UK is currently on track to end 2014 with new capacity somewhere between 2.4 and 2.5 GW, and will finish March 2015 with a total cumulative exceeding the 7 GW mark.
Based off NPD Solarbuzz’s figures, however, that means the first quarter of 2015 is going to be an even bigger record, thanks to an excess of inventory and the normal “calendar year end rush to ship product from factories to recognise shipment date reporting.”
The UK has seen a year full of uncertainty surrounding its clean energy market, thanks to questions raised by the government over subsidies and benefits. In July, CleanTechnica reported that “recent and ongoing cuts to UK solar farm incentives could result in an up to 30% decline in the previously projected rate of deployment.”
However, in August, reports showed that the UK had added 1 GW of solar power capacity in the first half of the year, a figure which was quickly superseded by news that the country’s cumulative PV capacity had reached a total of 5 GW.
In the end, the UK’s recent push for solar PV is impressive, but may simply be representative of the global market rather than any particular emphasis made by the UK Government.
Graph Credit: NPD Solarbuzz