The number of homes installing rooftop solar panels increased significantly in the first quarter of 2023, hitting the highest level in more than seven years. In the first three months of the year, more than 50,700 households in the UK chose this renewable energy source, which is a more than double increase compared to the corresponding periods in 2022 and 2019. These installations produce 265 megawatts of power in total, which is equal to half of a conventional coal-fired unit. Rising energy prices and a deeper understanding of the environmental advantages of renewable energy are credited for the increase in the number of new rooftop solar modules.
Solar Energy UK's Gareth Simkins says that "in the last year, solar installations have been driven by the energy crisis." Households are becoming more and more aware of the potential cost-saving advantages of renewable energy as energy costs continue to rise. Additionally, more households are choosing sustainable energy options like solar panels to lower their carbon footprint as a result of the growing environmental awareness.
With 351 systems installed, the MCS, which collects data from certified installers of heat pumps, house batteries, and rooftop solar panels, has also seen a rise in the number of home battery installations. As homes look to store extra energy produced by their solar panels, this trend shows an increasing interest in energy storage technologies.
After the UK government ended the Feed-in Tariff subsidy program in 2019, which caused a decline in installations and the demise of many smaller solar firms, there has been a surge in solar installations. By cancelling the program without a replacement, which forced the closure of many smaller solar companies, the government has been accused by the opposition Labour party of "actively dismantling" the UK solar industry.
According to data from National Grid, despite the recent boom in solar installations, just 4.4% of the UK's electricity is produced by solar, compared to 35.9% by gas and 23.3% by wind. This shows that the market for renewable energy still has a lot of space to develop. In the upcoming years, it is anticipated that more homes will choose solar panels as a viable energy source due to the growing knowledge of the advantages of renewable energy and the ongoing rise in energy prices.