Solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in the United Kingdom has now reached 5 gigawatts (GW), making the UK just the sixth country to hit this landmark figure.
Of the other five leading solar-PV countries, Germany remains the undisputed leader, with more than 37 GW. China, Japan, Italy and the United States each have more than 10 GW installed.
The 5 GW of solar PV capacity in the UK can be segmented as follows:
- 90 percent of the 5 GW capacity has been installed in the past three years
- 46 percent of the capacity is located in the South West and South East regions
- Small-scale feed-in-tariffs (FITs) have accounted for 42 percent
- Ground-mounted Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) have incentivized 39%
- Residential installations represent one-third of the 5 GW capacity
- Large-scale ground-mounted solar farms, occupying 50 acres or above, have grown in popularity in the past 18 months, and are responsible for 20 percent of the total
At 5 GW, solar PV capacity in the UK can now power nearly 6 percent of all UK households. The cumulative PV capacity is expected to continue to grow strongly until 31 March 2015, before pending policy changes take effect to slow down the large ground-mounted PV segment.
The UK government is seeking to shift growth to the large rooftop market; however, rooftop solar PV capacity from systems above 250 kilowatts (kW) represents only 3 percent of the market today, and is still lacking clear policy and incentive drivers.
Figure: Regional Location of 5 GW UK Solar PV
Almost Half of the UK’s 5 Gigawatts PV Capacity is Located in the South Regions