The United Kingdom installed an impressive 640 megawatts of new solar capacity in the first quarter of this year, dominated by 4.99 megawatt solar farms seeking to qualify for 1.2 Renewable Obligation Certificates before the scheme was phased out on 31 March.
Across the first quarter, ground-mounted solar capacity accounted for more than 90% of the total quarterly deployment of new solar, and of the 118 ground-mounted solar farms completed during the quarter, 90 had a capacity between 4.5 and 5 megawatts (MW). The last-minute flurry of projects were all aiming to qualify for the UK Renewables Obligation Certificate scheme which ended on 31 March, 2017. Specifically, projects under 5 MW received 1.2 Renewables Obligation Certificates.
These are the key statistics from analysis of the first quarter UK solar industry conducted by industry expert Finlay Colville. Once of NPD Solarbuzz, Colville is now the Head of Solar Intelligence with Solar Media, and remains one of the world’s leading experts on the solar industries.
The UK solar industry has had a great year so far, recording several new solar generation records on the back of increased capacity additions. In fact, in May, for the third time so far this year, total solar power generation amounted to 8.7 gigawatts (GW), or 24.3% of the electricity demand at midday. This was the second time in May, which had previously set a record of 8.48 GW.
On a larger scale, 2016 was a great year for solar in the UK, regularly beating out coal generation in terms of monthly figures — in May and July — and across the 6-month period of April to September.
Looking forward, however, according to Finlay Colville, “we now have some interesting dynamics at play in the post-build phase following the 31 March connection rush.”
Specifically, Colville explains that the market is now positioned in a way that allows us to see which companies are intending to remain in the solar industry post-subsidy era, and those who “have decided to call time on UK solar”. Overall, the UK solar industry is now in a post-subsidy era — both for its rooftop solar sector and the ground-mount sector — and will therefore “consolidate the range of players in the sector.”
For those wanting to know more about the UK solar industry moving forward, make sure to check out Finlay Colville’s full analysis.
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