Clean Power

Published on February 17th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


UK Solar Industry Reaches 10 GW Solar PV Capacity

February 17th, 2016 by  

According to Solar Power Portal, the UK solar industry has reached a cumulative capacity of more than 10 GW.

Solar Power Portal, part of the Solar Media organisation, exclusively revealed that the UK solar PV industry had “broken through the 10 GW barrier.” The news comes just weeks after the European solar industry trade body, SolarPower Europe, revealed that the UK would remain the region’s largest solar market in 2016.

SolarPower Europe also announced earlier this month that the European solar market as a whole grew by 15% in 2015, connecting 8 GW of new solar power to the grid, compared to 6.95 GW in 2014. The 2015 numbers for Europe were, unsurprisingly, “based on the strong UK market.”

According to Finlay Colville, head of intelligence at Solar Media, the strong 2015 was immediately followed by six weeks of continued growth in the UK, which saw 340 MW of solar added to the country’s cumulative capacity at the end of 2015 of 9.66 GW.

Solar Intelligence-1

The biggest contributions to the 10 GW mark were made in the first quarter of 2015, which saw 65% of the total 3.9 GW installed in the UK in 2015, according to Colville. As can be seen below, Q1’15 represented a significant shift in the growth trend from previous quarters.

Solar Intelligence-2

The UK Solar Trade Association has also jumped on the solar-hype bandwagon, claiming that UK residential solar remains a good investment.

“Let’s be clear; solar is still a good investment for householders and an essential investment for the planet,” said Paul Barwell, CEO of the Solar Trade Association. “Costs have come down so fast solar is much more affordable today than five years ago – around half the price of a new car. There has never been a greater need to go solar because acting on climate change is more urgent than ever. Solar will save on your energy bills, and potentially add value to your home.”

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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Ronald Brakels

    I feel embarrassed. Yes, I know the UK has 2.7 times Australia’s population and I know solar operates at a lower capacity factor than here, but it still feels wrong that Britain has twice as much PV as Australia.

    • juxx0r

      Part of me thinks you’re right, we should have much more, but part of me thinks good on them, they’re smarter than us.

  • Bristolboy

    This growth is likely to slow down during 2016 following the closure of the Renewables Obligation to most schemes (31st March), cuts to the feed in tariff (from Jan 15th) and VAT increases on domestic solar installations (1st August).

    Beyond this things are looking good – there are large-scale ground mounted projects entering planning which are believed to require zero subsidy, and already roof mounted systems are economic without subsidy assuming all power is used on site. If the “Minimum Import Price” on solar panels is scrapped these systems will become cheaper and the situations in which solar is competitive will just increase further.

    • JamesWimberley

      On paper, onshore wind is still cheaper than utility solar. Have you heard of any Scottish developer working on plans for unsubsidised wind farms selling into the merchant market or through PPAs with large consumers?

      If this happens on a large scale in either wind or solar, the Rudd-Osborne anti-renewables, pro-nuclear, pro-fracking policy is toast.

      • Bristolboy

        I know of several large companies who are spending money on developing both subsidy free wind and solar.

        These are the sort of large, international companies who wouldn’t invest in developments without an expected return.

      • egriff5514

        There would also be the planning angle in the UK – I don’t know whether Scotland’s laws are easier on that.. the govt has deliberately made it more difficult to get onshore wind approved, never mind the economics…

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