UK PV Deployment in First Half of 2014 Exceeds Full-year 2013
Proposed cuts in RO funding for
ground-mounted projects are creating serious concerns for some legacy project
developers who face the prospect of reduced revenues in 2015 and possibly even
The United Kingdom added 1.47 GW of new
solar photovoltaic capacity during the first six months of 2014, exceeding the
amount of newly installed capacity deployed in all of 2013 – itself a record
year for the U.K. PV industry, according to a report by market research group
"The U.K. is now firmly established as
the leading solar PV market in Europe, and the country is expected to become the
fourth largest global market for new solar PV deployment in 2014," NPD Solarbuzz
Activity in the first quarter dominated
the period, accounting for some 80% of the new capacity installed in the first
half of the year. The drop in Renewable Obligation (RO) incentives for
ground-mounted PV from 1.6 to 1.4 in April was behind the quarterly split, the
research group says.
The report adds that the residential
segment continues to trend at 80 MW to 100 MW per quarter, with the industry
having adapted successfully to the degression mechanism implemented earlier by
the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
At the same time, NPS Solarbuzz points
out that the commercial rooftop market remains heavily underutilized despite the
DECC’s aim to shift PV installations from ground to rooftops. Large rooftop
systems of more than 100 kW accounted for just 4% of capacity in the first half
Ground-mounted installations dominated
in the period, making up more than 75% of new PV capacity deployed. Solar farms
remain the most attractive option for investors seeking to accumulate large
portfolios of PV assets, according to the report.
"The U.K. PV industry is currently
adapting to recent proposals from DECC to cut RO funding two years earlier than
expected for ground-mounted projects above 5 MW in size," NPS Solarbuzz says.
"This change is driving a rush to complete as many ground-mounted projects as
possible before March 31, 2015. It is also creating serious concerns for some
legacy project developers who face the prospect of reduced revenues next year,
and possibly even bankruptcy."