Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Solar Country Notes
In part for the obvious climatic reasons, the United Kingdom has not installed solar energy devices to anything like the same extent as its more southerly (and therefore generally sunnier) European colleagues. By the end of 2005, the UK's total PV capacity was 10 877 kWp, equivalent to 0.18 watts per capita, compared with Spain's 1.32 W/capita and Italy's 0.64. Even more striking is the contrast with nearer neighbours such as the Netherlands and Germany. In their cases climatic differences are clearly not so marked, but the disparity in PV deployment is even wider, with Dutch PV averaging 3.12 W/capita and Germany way out ahead with 17.32.
In the UK there has been a Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme (MPDP) offering grants for small, medium and large-scale installations, which has encouraged a significant number of new projects. Installed PV capacity grew by about 33% in 2005, with the MPDP providing support for 80% of the new capacity. At the year-end, 91.5% of the UK total of 10.9 MWp was grid-connected distributed capacity.
The Demonstration Programme ended in March 2006, with the last installations funded by the scheme being completed by March 2007. Future financial support for PV installations will be furnished by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, part of the Government's new Microgeneration Strategy.
Solar collectors for heating water are used in the UK to a limited extent. In 2005, according to DTI estimates, they contributed 172.4 GWh for heating swimming pools, and 77.1 GWh towards domestic hot water supply. The total glazed area of solar thermal collectors in operation in 2005 was 197 000 m2, giving an output capacity of about 138 MWt.