On April 1st, the UK government halved the subsidy given to UK homeowners that wished to install solar panels on their property. Unsurprisingly, since then the weekly domestic solar panel installation rate has dropped by 54% with numbers failing to match those of the previous year. Happily, they have risen from the 90% drop that occurred immediately after the cuts were implemented.

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The new figures were published on the Solar Power Portal website on Friday, where energy and climate minister Greg Barker actually claimed that weekly installation rates were up 50% compared to this time last year. However official figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change seem to indicate this isn’t the case, especially when the figures focus on average weekly installations. The report states that since the introduction of the lower tariff rate in April 2012, an average of 8.4MW of solar photovoltaic capacity has been added each week. 12 months ago, this figure was 18.2MW. What is even more worrying is that more cuts are being planned for August 1st, when the amount paid to solar panel installers will fall from 21 pounds/kWh to 16 pounds/kWh.

Speaking to The Guardian, Leonie Greene, head of external affairs for the Solar Trade Association (STA), said: “We would have liked a longer period for the solar market to recover before further tariff reductions are made. Nevertheless the returns in August will still be attractive and solar will continue to make very good sense for householders – certainly compared to anything you can get in the bank these days. The public should not be put off by the regular tariff reductions. Because the technology costs are falling the tariffs need to come down to maintain a sensible rate of return.”

While home solar installations may be down, the UK has seen a significant increase in large solar projects, such as an 8MW farm set on a 37-acre site near South Brent, Devon run by TGC Renewables. Utility company Good Energy is also currently looking into installing a 25-30MW project near Week St Mary, while the German firm Kronos Solar is planning a 120-acre site near Launceston for a 25MW installation.

+ Solar Power Portal

Via The Guardian

Images: mjmonty and thetimchannel