And the analysis also shows that the UK now has almost 12GW of solar PV, across homes, offices, schools, warehouses and on solar farms – which is sufficient to power the equivalent of 3.8 million homes.
According to the latest statistics – published yesterday by the Solar Trade Association to mark its third annual Solar Independence Day – there are now more than 800,000 homes with solar PV and another 200,000 with solar thermal, which means that the UK now has just over 1 million solar homes.
Paul Barwell, Chief Executive, Solar Trade Association, commented: “The UK has successfully deployed almost 12GW of solar across the UK, providing nearly 25% during peak generation.
“This is just what the country and the world needs to de-carbonise the energy sector at the lowest price to the consumer.
“The Government’s adoption of the fifth carbon budget is a good long term signal in this regard and we now need just one more push from the government to help the solar sector reach its objective of being subsidy-free by the early 2020s.”
The UK solar industry is going through a difficult time at the moment, re-adjusting and re-calibrating after the massive changes in the support framework for solar earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the STA is working with the Department of Energy in England and has put forward a number of minor changes that could help stimulate the market, while its affiliated Solar Trade Scotland association has already published its ‘manifesto’ for the Scot-Govt’s new Scottish Energy Strategy, which will be developed when parliament resumes after the summer.
Meanwhile the STA has also launched its new Raising Standards in Solar PV Operations and Maintenance initiative. This builds on the work that EU-level body Solar Power Europe has done in its own O&M Best Practice Guidelines.
Mark Turner, Chairman of the STA;s Operations & Maintenance Working Group and Managing Director of Lightsource Renewable Energy, explained: “With this initiative we want to raise standards and establish best practice across the UK in solar PV operations and maintenance, making sure people are aware that preventative action can avoid costly corrective action later.
“While solar PV plants have no moving parts they are nevertheless power plants like any other, and therefore safety has to be our primary concern.”