Solar in United Kingdom

Installed capacity976MW

The United Kingdom represents just under 2 % of the global solar market; 1 GW of solar was installed in 2012. Most of the additions in the solar market happened in the last three years. The United Kingdom has a national target to generate 15% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. It also has a solar target of 2 680 GW by 2020, which EPIA estimates should be reached by 2014.

More than 50% of the British solar market is residential and approximately 23% of the solar capacity installed is utility-scale. Of the 925 MW of solar capacity added last year, more emphasis was seen in the power generation market with over 35% (323 MW) installed as ground mounted projects. However a further 400 MW of residential installations were also recorded. The EPIA reports that the UK needs an annual capacity increase of just over 100 MW solar to reach its target. The EPIA estimates that the United Kingdom has the potential to add more than 2.5 GW of solar capacity every year and by 2022, the total installed capacity of solar could reach 22GW.

The government introduced incentives for solar producers in April 2010 at the rate of 41.3p per kWh for all grid connected electricity. Currently however the incentives for solar depend very much on the size of the installation. Systems smaller than 4 kW receive a feed in tariff of 14.9p /kWh; larger systems attract a smaller tariff. For systems between 250kW and 5MW the feed in tariff is only 6.85p per kWh. The government has stated it will increase these feed in tariffs in October 2013 for all scales of systems.