New solar installations in 2022 surpass 2021 levels in just eight months

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

  • 79,560 installations completed by end of August 2022, compared with 61,431 in the whole of 2021
  • 144% increase in monthly installations registered in August 2022 versus August 2021
  • A total of 1,551 contractors now MCS certified to install solar PV

The latest data from MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) for solar panels installed on UK homes shows that new solar PV installations have surpassed the total for 2021 just eight months into 2022.

MCS, which defines and maintains standards for small-scale domestic renewable energy and heating across the UK, has recorded all certified installations on its central database since 2008.

Figures show that 79,560 solar PV installations were completed from January – August 2022, a 30% increase on the 61,431 installed in the whole of 2021.

There was a 144% increase of solar PV installations registered with MCS in August 2022 – 12,411, compared with 5,082 in August 2021. 

The data combats concerns in the renewable energy sector that domestic solar PV demand would diminish after the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) incentive ended in April 2019. 

In all, solar PV installations comprise more than 80% of the 1.4 million renewable installations so far registered with MCS. This takes the total number of ‘sunny roofed’ residential properties to more than one million.

In 2021, small-scale solar PV installations produced a peak of 3GW of electricity for the UK grid for the first time ever, around the same amount of power as the Sizewell C nuclear power plant (3.2GW). 

Given that solar PV uptake is increasing, MCS is working with industry and local authorities to increase the number of certified solar PV contractors to meet demand. For example, the Solar Skills London project with Solar Energy UK, and the Mayor of London aims to increase the number of certified solar installers in the Greater London area by 50%.

What’s more, Solar Energy UK’s recent report, The Value of Solar Property, found that households can save up to £963 a year using domestic solar power. The report also concluded that installing solar panels could increase a home’s value by up to £2,722.

The report supplements the latest update to the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker (PAT), which surveyed public opinion on the anticipated effect of renewables on energy prices. Respondents saw the potential for prices to decrease over the longer-term, with 45% of people anticipating further price decreases in 10 or more years’ time.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, explained: “With UK homeowners quite rightly worried about the cost of living amid rising energy costs, we are pleased to report the installation of solar PV is powering on as homeowners look to invest in home-grown energy. We are seeing more installations registered on the MCS database and our certified contractor base also continues to grow. 

“Our data indicates more companies than ever before are diversifying into solar as well as seeing more new market entrants. This trend will be essential to maintain as there is a constant need to upskill the industry and meet increasing levels of demand.

“To decarbonise the UK’s 28 million homes, we need to provide renewable technology solutions at scale. It is encouraging to see the ongoing maturity of the solar PV market in the UK, and these latest results demonstrate how a sector can be developed and stand on its own two feet financially, even after incentives come to an end.”

Kevin McCann, policy manager for Solar Energy UK, added: “These figures are a fantastic demonstration of consumer confidence in residential renewables. Installing an MCS certified solar system is one of the best ways that homeowners and occupiers can reduce their bills and address the impact of the fossil-fuelled energy price crisis. We call on the government to consider how it can support access to low-cost finance, to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from home solar systems. They are a core part of the solution to the linked challenges of the cost-of-living crisis, energy security, and climate change.”