The installation of solar panels on rooftops in the UK has reached its highest point in 12 years, with a record high in 2023.
According to the official standards body for the industry, the installation of rooftop solar panels for both households and businesses has reached its highest point in 12 years. Additionally, there has been a record high number of installations for heat pumps in the year 2023.
Last year, the data indicated that there were nearly 190,000 rooftop solar installations, the most since the government reduced its subsidy program in late 2011.
According to the data, the UK saw a significant increase in the installation of heat pumps, reaching a record high of nearly 40,000 which is a 25% increase from the previous year. This brings the total number of accredited heat pumps installed in the country to over 200,000.
The organization responsible for accrediting the industry, the MCS, reported a sudden increase in demand for heat pumps following the government’s decision to raise the grants offered through its boiler upgrade program from £5,000 to £7,500 for air-source heat pumps in October. The MCS stated that there was a 50% rise in applications for the grant after the new rate was introduced.
The MCS Foundation, responsible for the body’s standards program, stated that the UK is not meeting its target of decreasing its dependence on gas, which is crucial in meeting the country’s legally binding climate goals.
The article stated that the number of heat pumps being installed is expected to increase by over ten times in the next four years, in order to reach the government’s goal of 600,000 installations per year by 2028.
The foundation’s director of external affairs, David Cowdrey, stated that in addition to increased grants, the industry would require further governmental policies in order to achieve the necessary exponential growth at this time.
He urged the government to transfer social and environmental fees from energy bills to general taxes, in order to lower electricity expenses and make operating heat pumps significantly more affordable than using a gas boiler.
Charlotte Lee, the CEO of the Heat Pump Association, which is a trade organization, urged heating engineers to prepare for increased consumer interest in heat pumps by investing in training for installation. This will not only support the expected growth in deployment, but also ensure that their businesses are prepared for the future.
In 2011, solar installations did not reach the previous record of 203,000 due to a rush of people taking advantage of the feed-in-tariff support scheme before it was reduced.
According to Chris Hewett, the CEO of Solar Energy UK, the solar industry is gaining momentum. This is especially evident as the government-industry solar taskforce is nearing completion and will soon release a roadmap for achieving 70GW of capacity.
It is satisfying to witness the increase in the use of heat pumps and battery energy storage systems, which complement rooftop solar energy systems by maximizing their cost savings and reducing carbon emissions.